In this season of Advent, I find myself reflecting upon the arrival of the Incarnation. The meaning of Advent has to do with ‘coming’ and implied in this process is the concept of waiting. The Christmas narrative encapsulates the process of waiting for the arrival for the Prince of Peace. Upon closer reflection, many of the Christmas story characters portrayed a sense of anticipation in their time of waiting.
The first two chapters of Luke are filled with examples of individuals who believed the word of the Lord and held on tightly to promises divinely inspired. They were waiting for the arrival of the One who had been spoken of by the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years earlier in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
In Isaiah 9:6-7 it was prophesied that the Saviour of the world would usher in a new kingdom. Malachi concludes by the promise of one yet to come in the spirit of Elijah. From this point on, over 400 years, nothing more was heard until Jesus arrived on the scene. That was a long period of waiting.
Luke 1 tells us the story of Zacharias’ encounter with an angel while fulfilling his priestly duties. He is dumbstruck and left mute for a season. His wife Elizabeth becomes pregnant and bears a son. They both experience a season of waiting for the fulfilment of a promise – a forerunner preparing the way of the Lord.
Mary is visited by an angel and told “And behold, you will conceive in our womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His Name Jesus.” (Luke 1:31) She is overshadowed by the Spirit of the Lord and conceives a child. She had a time of waiting for the birth of the one called Jesus.
Simeon is promised he would not pass away until he saw the Consolation of Israel. As Jesus is presented on the eighth day Simeon is found in the temple. He lays his eyes on the One who would bring salvation to the Gentiles and to His people Israel. Simeon waited a long time.
Then there is an 84-year-old prophetess named Anna who had been waiting daily in the temple serving the Lord with fastings and prayers day and night. In patience she beholds the fulfillment of her season of waiting. She speaks to others of the one to bring redemption in Jerusalem.
At last the waiting comes to an end. He is Immanuel – God with us. He never changes. His love never fails reaching out to every individual, every city, and every nation. With compassion He embraces those who reach out to Him. He heals and restores our brokenness. He is the Prince of Peace bringing His peace to fill our hearts in the most trying of times. And He will come again!
Are you waiting for Him this Advent season?