The Advent Anticipation
Anticipation...that's what the Advent season is all about. In our celebration of Christmas, we know that Jesus has already been born, yet we still choose to celebrate the Advent of our King each year as a reminder (just as I choose to celebrate the entire month of my birth leading up to the actual day.) It's the anticipation of what's to come, anticipation of the celebration.
But what about the times when you are anticipating that which you still do not know, simply an anticipation of a promise. That may get a little more difficult, because that requires patience, that requires trust, that requires FAITH.
In Luke 1, we are told of the birth of John the baptist who would eventually be the voice crying out to others to prepare the way of the Lord, Jesus Christ. John's parents were older and his mother had been barren, so when the angel told Zechariah that his prayers had been answered and that they would have a child, he did not believe it. But even in his unbelief, God remind faithful to His plan and to his promise. And so, months later when his wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to their child, the Bible says that her neighbors rejoiced with her! Her husband too, I would imagine, although, because of his initial unbelief, the angel told him months earlier that he would remain silent and unable to speak until all had taken place.
Oh, how difficult that would be especially at the site of one's firstborn son.
As was customary in those times, the child was circumcised on the eight day, more than a medical procedure this was a religious practice, a sign of their covenant with the Lord as God's chosen people, set apart and called. On this occasion, the child was also to be named and naturally they would have named him after his father, Zechariah, but Elizabeth, the baby's mother as the text reads...
"answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered.
And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him." Luke 1:60-66
I know that there is so much going on before this point, during and so much more to come, but what got me in the gut this day was the question that the neighbors laid up in their hearts. This question.. "What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him." Oh, the anticipation!
Zechariah's faith in declaring this childs name to be John was the last barrier that allowed God to loose his toungue from his past unbelief. Zechariah beleived! And calling his son, John, against all customs was a testimony to that belief.
I can only imagine at this point the initial words that the angel shared with him at the announcement of his answered prayer to have a child must have come flooded back to him. These words "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:14-17
So as Zechariah spoke for the first time in months, his words were a declaration that signified "This I do believe." The anticipation of the proud parents, the anticipation of the neighbors who rejoiced knowing the hand of God was on this child must have been great. Yet all they could do was wait...... wait to see the answer to the question that was pondered up in their hearts of "What then will this child be?"
As the years went by, did they remain patient, anxious expectant or doubtful? Maybe at times a little bit of each, but there is no denying that faith in the midst of anticipation is much more fruitful than doubt or fear, wondering if God will do what He said he will do.
As you wait.... trust. As you wait, anticipate the fulfillment of what God has promised you. As you wait, prepare. As you wait, get ready for God to use you to turn hearts to Him.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
I love you in the Lord! Mia
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.