What are you most anticipating this Christmas season?
Maybe it's a special present you hope is under the tree...a college student or grown child you long to welcome home for the holidays...or maybe you're anticipating the holidays being over.
If you have young kids in your home, their Christmas list is probably a mile long...and getting longer by the day as they continue to think of new wants. Every day (maybe multiple times a day!) you hear that familiar question, "How much longer until Christmas??"
Waiting is hard.
Waiting for something we're anticipating with great eagerness is even harder.
In his first letter, Peter writes,
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
1 Peter 1:10-12
Can you imagine anticipating the advent of something special, knowing you yourself would never see or experience it? The Old Testament patriarchs "died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance" (Hebrews 11:13). They hoped in joy and trusted in faith that the promised Messiah would indeed come, and that their descendants would be blessed through His arrival.
Fast forward, and now we, as those who have believed upon Christ's miraculous birth, perfect life, atoning death, and sin-crushing resurrection, now anticipate another advent: Christ's second and final coming when He will restore all things to their proper place under His authority and we will fellowship with Him forever and reign with Him in His eternal kingdom.
As you anticipate this Christmas, anticipate Christ.
1. Pause to reflect on why we look forward to His coming. Rejoice in the healing you have experienced in Christ and the healing that the world will experience upon His return.
2. Share with your family why you personally anticipate Christ's return. Read the Christmas story together and along with other passages foretelling and describing His return. (This is a great opportunity to show children how to use a concordance!)
3. Pray. Spend time in quiet solitude, worship, and gratitude as well as set aside time to pray with your spouse or family. Pray for our world in its sinful state; pray for specific people you know to experience the hope and healing of Jesus; pray for each other to have a renewed joy this Christmas that's based on spiritual, not material, gifts.
As we celebrate Christ's first coming this Christmas, may it renew your anticipation of His second coming. Watch expectantly. Wait with great excitement and anticipation. For all other joys pale in comparison to the surpassing greatness of our God and His gift of salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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