Children aren’t the only ones who are having a tough time with waiting these days of Christmas, but can you blame them? Young kids with no impulse control in the first place must find it so hard to wait weeks and weeks before Santa arrives! Older, more sophisticated kids often know what major presents they’re getting long before the big day, but at least some parents hold their ground and make them wait for the actual holiday.
I’m a little sore today at the injection sites for the anesthetic, but my mouth is the proud bearer of my new permanent bridge. Again. I had to go back to the temporary one while the permanent one had some modifications. Big step backwards in terms of appearance and comfort, not to mention ease of speech. At the same time I had to go backwards dentally, I also found myself without wearable contact lenses. Defective batch, ordering a trial pair, they’ll be in within a week or so. Blah blah blah.
For much of my life, glasses and an incomplete smile have been the norm. Once you’ve sampled, or even come to rely on, something better, going back really stinks. I’m sure a good deal of it was flat out vanity and pride in my improved appearance, but I truly did have trouble with wearing glasses again for more than overnight bedside use. I actually started to run into things because the glasses are an older prescription. So, yes, the last week has not been so fun.
One whole week. Eight days actually. Oh no. But I did gain a new appreciation for the sense of longing, even groaning, for the promised “better” that is delayed for some amount of time. I can see how months or years of this would cause many to lose hope that the “better” was actually coming. The people of Israel had to wait 400 years.
Our enemy, our captor is no pharaoh on the Nile
Our toil is neither mud nor brick nor sand
Our ankles bear no calluses from chains, yet Lord, we’re bound
Imprisoned here, we dwell in our own land
Deliver us, deliver us
Oh Yahweh, hear our cry
And gather us beneath your wings tonight
Our sins they are more numerous than all the lambs we slay
These shackles they were made with our own hands
Our toil is our atonement and our freedom Yours to give
So Yahweh, break your silence if You can
Deliver us, deliver us
Oh Yahweh, hear our cry
And gather us beneath Your wings tonight
How often I have longed
To gather you beneath My gentle wings”
“Deliver Us” by Andrew Peterson
Christmas celebrates a reality that we often forget in the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, plays and concerts, and constant reminders that we deserve better stuff. The first Advent of the Lord Jesus was a long time coming. 400 years! The four weeks we try to set aside and slow down before our celebration of Christmas pales in comparison. Even 400 years can hardly stand up to the waiting that we’ve been in for the past 2,000 years.
My church has been exploring the idea “What Are We Waiting For?” this Advent season. Did you know “Joy to the World” is actually not technically a Christmas song? It points much more strongly to the Lord’s Second Coming than His first. We find ourselves in a time of extended waiting with no timetable for when it will end and we will experience the “better.” Jesus has indeed come. He has begun to set things to rights. The work He did on the Cross is finished. But in this time of waiting for the ultimate gift of complete restoration, we must not turn patience into complacency. We must not allow hope to turn to ignorance. We must keep our focus on the promise that one day all of God’s hopes and dreams for His creation will be beautifully, wonderfully fulfilled.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:8-13)