Last week I was driving to Costco with my little granddaughter Stella in my car. Before we left the driveway she said, "Papa, are we there yet?" at least three times. She kept saying it over and over again even before we got to the main highway. She is very good at anticipating and today we were going to Costco to find a Christmas present for her sister. She was excited about not only that, but she wanted to see all the toys and show me what she wanted for Christmas we well.
Children are very good at looking forward and anticipating the future. We are just beginning a season of anticipation, a season of looking forward, a season of hope. Our official church calendar has just ended and we now begin a four week period of time before Christmas, called Advent. Perhaps to many that's not a big deal, but for the church, Advent is an intense time of expectant waiting. The word Advent means, "coming," so it's a period of time where we look forward to once again celebrating Jesus coming not only as a baby, but we also spend some time thinking about Jesus' second coming.
Many of the scripture texts we read during this season are about looking forward; they not only talk about Jesus Nativity, but they also refer to Jesus coming at the end of time. From Luke 21:26-29 we read,
"People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is
coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will
be shaken. Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to
take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your
redemption is drawing near."
When Stella kept asking, "Papa, are we there yet?" it reminded me so much of our thinking during Advent. As mature adults, having celebrated many, many Advent and Christmas seasons I think we lose a little of that unbridled anticipation and hope that we had when we were younger. Can we get it back?
Wouldn't it be fun once again to be filled with awe and amazement as we think about not only Jesus birth, but his final return? Perhaps we don't need to "faint with fear and foreboding;" however, if we really thought we'd see Jesus, wouldn't that be a pretty natural response? Next time you hear, "Are we there yet?" might you use that to redirect your thinking to Jesus coming in a cloud with power and glory? I was just wondering how can we harness some of that youthful exuberance and direct it towards showing love to one another during this season of hope and anticipation?
See You In Church!
~ Pastor Richard