I’ve written about waiting before. Waiting is something most of us do not do well. During this Christmas season, let’s revisit the topic. Waiting has been part of Christmas before the word “Christmas” was coined. The Israelites waited hundreds of years for the Messiah. During this time of profound silence, God gave hope to an old woman and spoke through her a message of thanksgiving and trust in Him. He put His words in her mouth for all to hear as she lived and worshiped at the temple. I am speaking of Anna, the eighty-four year-old widow who, when granted the opportunity to see the Christ Child, proclaimed to all those waiting for the redemption of Israel that this child was the one they were looking for. She gave thanks to God as she spoke about these things.
36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage,37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.Luke 2:36-38 NIV
Simeon was another who waited. He had been told by the Holy Spirit he would not die until he had seen God’s Son. This came to pass as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to consecrate him to God as was the law. We don’t know exactly how long Simeon had to wait for his destiny to be fulfilled. But we know that he didn’t give up hope. He believed what he’d been told would indeed occur.
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:Luke 2:25-32 NIV
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
Christmas as celebrated today, still involves waiting. Children must wait to open presents. Parents wait for children to go to bed so they can put out the presents, eat the cookies and drink the milk performing the role of “Santa.” Often we await the arrival of relatives or friends. School children await the last day before Christmas vacation begins. (Teachers too.)
Many Christians anxiously await the return of Jesus; the fulfillment of God’s promise, and a time when there will be no pain or suffering. Many await the time when they will be reunited with loved ones. Others wait for a more appropriate time to surrender to Jesus’ love. They want everything to be ready, or perfect. They may say they need to clean up their lives first – make changes, or finish ‘having fun.”
Waiting to surrender one’s sins to Jesus is not a good reason to wait. Waiting to take the Savior’s outstretched hand is a mistake. Today is the day to choose love. Today is the day to accept forgiveness. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. As a matter of fact, tomorrow doesn’t really exist. There is only today. Yesterday, we may have made mistakes. Yesterday, we may have failed. Yesterday, we may have turned our backs on Jesus, but today, we can change.
The power of today, is that hope rises anew. Today, we can forgive. Today, we can reverse the decisions of yesterday. Today, we can turn onto a new path. Today, we can become a Child of God.
So, while many good things come to those who wait, there is one thing upon which it is unwise to wait. Choose salvation today and become a new person in Christ. By choosing Jesus today, your tomorrows will be filled with hope regardless of what happened yesterday.