As we enter the Christmas season, I’ve been thinking about how I have anticipated Christmas over the course of my life. When I was a child, I remember going to Christmas Eve service, visiting my aunt and uncle after church, wanting to rush home to get to bed so that I could see what wonderful gifts were waiting for me under the tree. As an adolescent, I still had some excitement about gifts but I really anticipated seeing my grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and cousins. In my early adult years, my Christmas anticipation waned a little because of the post holiday debt that would come. In recent years, because of the loss of several loved ones, I buried my anticipation for Christmas to avoid facing the absence of family members who are now with the Lord.
Maybe you can identify with some of the ups and downs my anticipation for Christmas has taken. Is it possible your anticipation for Christmas has faded because it means another year has gone by and you’re still wrestling with that thing you thought would be gone from your life by now? Have you lost hope because your marriage hasn’t been restored or the idea of spending the holiday alone is too overwhelming because you’re single?
This year I’ve come to realize that I need to approach this Christmas with a different perspective and I invite you to take this journey with me. The Jewish people of Israel in Isaiah’s time were always anticipating the coming of the Messiah.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
This Advent season, what if you anticipate the coming Messiah just as the Israelites did? How might your life be different if you couldn’t wait to celebrate the birth of your Savior and how His coming has brought you redemption? Because He chose to come as a human being, His birth, death and resurrection mean you can look forward to His return with hope. As you ponder this, I pray that excitement and anticipation begins to swell within your heart.
This holiday season I have decided to renew my child-like anticipation for Christmas. Not just because of the gifts under the tree or the time spent with family and friends but because Jesus has given me the gift of spending eternity with Him. I can face the challenges of life because Christ in me is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Would you commit to praying with me that our anticipation for Christmas is renewed and we experience joy that lasts through the holiday and beyond?
And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes. Jude 24 (MSG)