The word "Advent" meaning "coming" meaning Jesus is on His way and will arrive at the perfect time. We can't speed His arrival. We can't do anything in ourselves to make things happen when we are on God's time. Advent is the perfect time to ponder the spiritual role of expectant waiting God has given to all of us. To learn to wait in anticipation and faith and joy and eagerness. To wait to see God come through. To wait and watch to see His hand in people and events.
You could say we live in seasons of Advent throughout our lives -- seasons when we wait for God's timing.
The season of Advent is about so many things. Besides waiting it is also about resting. About honoring the Sabbath rest in our lives.
We had to cancel church today because we (and most of the people where we live) are snowed in. I kind of thought we might have to cancel yesterday morning but I wrote my Sunday School lesson anyway. Hopefully Shannon and I will do our first official episode for the podcast "Bible Talk with Jane and Shannon" today about the topic we were going to study in Sunday School -- rest. It goes right along with waiting.
Eugene H. Peterson writes, "We often labor under the illusion that everything depends on us or on those around us. But it doesn't. Everything depends on God. And this is the great lesson that rest has to teach us."
As this Advent time begins, society encourages lots of activity, things that we are told we all should do to celebrate Christmas in the "right way." God's approach is the opposite of this, impossible for humans, possible only for Him. Waiting and resting. The first mention of Jesus' birth was way back in Genesis 3 (woman's seed). And during the time of the divided kingdom of Judah and Israel, God gave this prophecy to King Ahaz through Isaiah:
"'Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven.' But Ahaz said, 'I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!' Then he said, 'Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of God as well? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.'" Isaiah 7:10-14
A virgin bearing a son? Impossible. But not for God. There was nothing King Ahaz or later that anyone could do to bring about the Messiah's coming. They all just had to remember and wait for God to do what only God can do.
This is the life God calls us to. We will be in impossible situations not knowing what to do. We will be tempted to "fix" things or worry or stress till we make ourselves sick. But if we are Believers we ought to know when it is impossible God has a plan to come through. Why God chooses to act when He does is a mystery, but we know His timing is perfect.
Let's take time to think on scripture and God's timing this Advent season -- the time of rest and waiting.