I watched a sermon from CrossPoint Church recently and the thing that I want to relay here is the pastor’s reference to sitting back in a chair. We spend so much time on the edge of our seat, whether we are waiting for the next job, more money, new friends, a better marriage, whatever it is, we are waiting. And his point was that sometimes, especially in the season of Advent, we need to sit back and show that we trust the timing of God’s plan. God has a plan and we do not acknowledge that we are faithful by sitting on the edge of our seat constantly. So, this year let’s learn how to sit back and have real faith, faith that God will provide.
I have been learning about the Advent season and how it is a season of waiting and anticipation. Waiting for the savior. And on December 25th it will be a time of celebration. The question is what will you be celebrating? The number of presents with your name on them? When I was growing up that was all that mattered to me! How many of the gifts under the tree said “To: Kelly.” As I’ve gotten older that isn’t quite as important, though I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter a little bit. I’m spoiled, okay. But I am to the point now where I am figuring out what’s important and what isn’t. I am learning how to celebrate Christmas in a way that acknowledges the power of Christ being born.
For twenty-five years I have been celebrating Christmas and never have I been so in tune with Advent. The Advent calendar, Advent devotions, all things Advent. I was familiar with it, generally, but I never acknowledged it or paid it much attention. Frankly, like most things, I did not understand it. This year I am taking the time to understand and study Advent. I am realizing that for a season of time, leading up to Christmas, we are in waiting. We are waiting for the coming of Christ. All of the anticipation is for a little baby boy, cute little eight pound, six ounce, newborn infant Jesus. As we so often hear, He is the reason for the season. But there is so much more to the story! I’ve learned that Advent is a time for renewed hope and deeper faith. It is a time to learn how to wait.
Here is my little synopsis of the pre-Jesus story: Joseph is Jesus’ earthly father while Mary is his mother. The Virgin Mary story is pretty scandalous and would make good reality TV. Mary tells her husband, Joseph, that she is pregnant prior to the “consummation” of the marriage, i.e. Joseph had to be skeptical about the whole situation. He even had plans to divorce her. It wasn’t until an angel came to him in a dream and told him that his soon to be son was the savior of the world that Joseph would buy in. Joseph decided to love Mary and Jesus despite having nothing to do with Him being conceived. Take a second and realize how much faith Joseph had to have at that moment. I’m not sure he gets the credit he deserves for what he did. This man not only has a son that’s not his but now he has the weight of parenting the Messiah, Immanuel, God with us.
This short albeit crazy important story speaks to what I said earlier about renewed hope and growing faith. Joseph was hoping that everything was going to work out. I heard something this week about hope, that hope is faith in waiting. Joseph did not know what was going to happen but he had faith in the waiting period. Joseph made the decision to sit back in his chair and trust that God had a plan.
What does this teach us about Christmas? For me, I am learning that this time of waiting does not mean I have to be anxious and stressed out, but rather I get to be hopeful. I get to learn about the story of Jesus in a new and refreshing way. This year I am taking the time to sit back in my little blue chair and wait for Jesus, knowing that on His birthday I get to celebrate. We get to celebrate the one who came to save us. This is good news. This is Christmas.