As a child, I hated waiting for Christmas. Unfortunately it wasn't because I couldn't wait to celebrate the birth of the Messiah. My focus was on the unveiling of all the presents. Early in my childhood, I learned all the “hidey holes” that my parents used to hide them from me and my brother. By the time I was five, I had mastered the art of surreptitiously unwrapping enough of each gift to see the joy inside and then carefully rewrapping it so that no one was the wiser. Unfortunately my excitement in illicit discovery only led to another frustrating period of waiting to play with those gifts that they had bought me. It was unbearable!
As a Christian, my frustration with waiting rears its ugly head now as well. I struggle to wait on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of my two sons, Tim and Andy. I hate waiting to see whether a vital campus strategy that we are pursuing will bear fruit in deeply changed lives or structures. As I get older and see some of the seeming intractable evil in our world, waiting for Christ’s return has gone from a theoretical concept to a longed-for event.
This Advent as I wait to celebrate Christ’s birth, I am thankful for all the saints in the Old Testament who waited faithfully for the birth of Jesus. Like the Psalmist below, they teach me to press into what God is doing today and to put my hopes and fears for the future totally in His hands.
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Psalms 37:7
"Immanuel" is God the Father's answer to the Psalmist's prayers and to my prayers. As we remember and rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th, we can have confidence that all that we wait for today will be fulfilled in Christ's second coming sometime in the future. Until then, our service on campus to make his name known and glorified in every dorm, every classroom, and every fraternity and sorority is an expression of our thanksgiving for Christ's first coming, and confidence in his promised return.
JesusJI am personally grateful for each one of you and your faithful service to the Kingdom of God through InterVarsity! Merry Christmas to you and your families from the Collegiate Ministries Leadership Team!