“Wait,” He said, and locked His gaze with eleven pairs of eyes brimming with question marks.
“Wait. I have been your constant companion for three years, walking long deserted roads, sharing our meager meals, sleeping under the stars. I have answered your questions and rebuked your faithlessness, and now it is time for me to return to the Father. But I tell you this: If you could choose and if you knew what I know, you would choose the Helper I am sending over my presence beside you. Don’t try to go forward on your own. Wait for the Gift.”
Imagining myself into the upper room, in the company of the Acts -One-Faithful, I wonder: Could I have waited in faith for ten long days between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost? Is it possible that I would have persevered in the cloud of unknowing until the tongues of fire landed and the Wind swept in a new era of redemptive history?
Or . . .
Would I have waffled and sown doubt into the gathering, nervously rehearsing Jesus’ words, calling for conferences in which we’d put our heads together — wondering if we’d heard correctly, or if we had misunderstood His intentions.
“He said Jerusalem, right?”
“What was the word He used?”
The record shows they waited, and the promise was fulfilled. The power came down, but not merely as a force or a tingle of energy. Once again, God had sent a Person into time and space to accomplish His purposes and to reveal God-nature to the bumbling race of humanity.
Likewise, today, God the Holy Spirit is a Person Who comes to us, bringing power that holds us in the faith. When the Spirit comes rushing in at the beginning of our following lives, His mission is to initiate an ongoing love affair with God. Miraculously, we become little-Christs, and the Word becomes flesh once again, in our lives and in our deeds. This is the Gift of Christ to those who “tarry” and are “endued with power from on high.”
A Celebration of Waiting Fulfilled
However, the sad truth that weaves its way through Christmas season 2017 is this:
We’re just fresh out of patience.
The idea of waiting for ten days for anyone or anything is unthinkable. We want to know the mind of God, discover our unique purpose in life, and celebrate Christmas wholeheartedly, dagnabbit, and we want to do it right now. In the impatience of our ceaseless striving, we forget that Christmas is a celebration of waiting fulfilled. It’s the vindication of Old Testament believers who spent long uncomfortable lives clinging to wispy words of prophecy and trusting in God’s good intentions toward them. It’s the season of Mary’s yes to a nine-month obedience and of open-ended journeys prompted by stars and visions.
When I forget the overshadowing Spirit and the power of the Most High, I have lost the Spirit of Christmas. The boundaries between who I am and Who God is become fuzzy and indistinct. It becomes easier and more tempting to arrogate to myself prerogatives that are not mine to exercise. The Christmas Spirit is reduced to a warm fuzzy feeling that can be duplicated by a serving of eggnog or an evening of gift wrapping by candlelight.
Living in “the Interim Time”
Make no mistake: when Jesus promised power from on high, it was a far-reaching offer that spanned the centuries. That’s good news, for we also live in a world of waiting. The only difference is that now Wi-Fi, CNN, the Hallmark channel, and our frantic pace distract us from our true situation, which A.W. Tozer describes as “the interim time”:
“We live between two mighty events — that of [Jesus’] incarnation, death, and resurrection, and that of His ultimate appearing and the glorification of those He died to save. This is the interim time for the saints — but it is not a vacuum. He has given us much to do, and He asks for our faithfulness.”
It is the Spirit of Christmas Who will bring about this faithfulness in His people. The same Spirit Who “hovered over the face of the waters,” also seeded life into Mary’s womb and empowered a motley crew of ragtag fishermen to turn the world upside down. He will show up to guide present day followers as well, even in seasons when pursuing our calling feels as vague as following a star in the East. Our waiting is no more absent of activity and life than a drop of pond water.
Thank you, Spirit of God, for this season of hope in which we celebrate your exquisite timing.
Empower us to view our waiting and our wondering as an opportunity to receive your grace for that moment, to be “endued with power from on High” so that we may become fiercehearted women of Christmas like Anna and Elisabeth and Mary who waited in hope throughout their interim time. May we rejoice in anticipation as they did, knowing that patience is the bridge that joins time and eternity, and Your promised presence is a fresh offering every day.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska from Unsplash
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26 thoughts on “Wait for the Spirit of Christmas”
Michele, Your words are so right on! They capture my thoughts in a way I wish I could express. Thank you!
Oh, thanks, Susan, for letting me know that. It’s great when we read something that hits us right where we need to be “hit,” and I’m honored to have supplied borrowed words for you this morning.
I enjoyed how you depicted the disciples waiting for the Holy Spirit. Ironically, patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit, and the disciples were told to patiently wait for the Spirit. I need every reminder that God so often chooses to work in ways that require patience on our part. I hope you enjoy a wonderful Christmas, Michele!
Michele, how beautifully you captured waiting! We anticipate and await His coming again! Merry Christmas!
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Oh, friend. I think I needed to hear these words today. Thank you. Please have a Merry, merry CHRISTmas, friend. xoxo
And you as well. Trusting your celebration will be filled with joy!
[…] via Wait for the Spirit of Christmas — Living Our Days […]
Such a beautiful post! Waiting is sometimes so hard, but there are things to be done within the “waiting”. We must be about our Father’s business.
Thank you for the beautiful reminder!
Hopping over from #TuneInThursday
Yes, so much to do as we wait.And also so much to be paying attention to, so much to be “being”and “becoming.”
Blessings to you, and Merry Christmas.
“Christmas is a celebration of waiting fulfilled.” Amen! This is absolutely beautiful. In this world that grows increasingly impatient, may we tap into the Holy Spirit within us (what a gift) to enable us to abide with great anticipation here in the interim.
Hope you have a blessed and joyous Christmas, Michele!
I love that you chose to use the word “abide.” Waiting while staying close to the source of our strength! Blessings to you, Bev, and a Merry Christmas!
Waiting in hope…..words of comfort and promise. xx
Yes! And may we wait patiently and with an eye toward all that God has planned. Blessings to you, Debby!
What a beautiful prayer! Amen! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Michele!
Blessings, Liz! (Enjoy the pizza!)
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A much-needed reminder. Thank you, friend. May we take it to heart this season and throughout the new year. Blessings!
Merry Christmas, June! Thanks for reading!
Thank you for these encouraging thoughts! So often I hear myself whining to God during the waiting times. But what a Blessed Hope He does bring to us here, as we are not alone! “Once again, God had sent a Person into time and space to accomplish His purposes and to reveal God-nature to the bumbling race of humanity.” Oh, such beautiful thoughts for these days. May you have a Blessed Christmas and New Year, Michele!
I loved pondering the personhood of God the Holy Spirit, and it amazes me how often He’s referred to as “it.” And isn’t it just wonderful that God sends his rescue to us in every case instead of expecting us to find our own way? So much beautiful truth to ponder at this time of year!
Michele, I am so glad to have read these words this morning. We wait and we anticipate. Our Savior did come and He will surely come again. This time of Advent always provides me reason to focus my heart and mind anew on my Savior. It is always special and meaningful to me. May you and yours have a blessed and merry Christmas!
I always love it when you visit, because your insights add so much to the conversation. We need the heart-focus that Advent gives us, and may we find grace to hang onto it into the new year.
Waiting … we aren’t very good at it, are we? Most would consider me a patient person because they only see the outward me. But inside … often another story! Thanks for reminding us that we are called to a life of waiting. Merry Christmas and blessings in the New Year.
Sounds very familiar, Donna. Trusting that your celebration of Jesus’ birth will be encouraging and peaceful and that you are already making wonderful plans for 2018!
May we rejoice in the waiting as they did. Beautiful Michele.
Thanks so much for your encouragement!