Christmas Joy in a World of Waiting

How to Find Christmas Joy in a World of Waiting

As unimaginable as it sounds to 21st-century ears, Anna the prophetess made a career of waiting. Widowed after her seventh anniversary, the next eight decades of her life revolved around the temple in Jerusalem. Her patient attendance there embodied the posture of her people, the nation of Israel, for they had long been waiting for a promised Messiah, waiting for the world to change, waiting for promises to be fulfilled, waiting for redemption.

Because she waited well, Anna was present in the temple on the day Mary and Joseph brought Jesus for his infant dedication to God. Everything around Jesus’s birth happened “in the fullness of time,” scripture says.

Time is “full” when the right number of minutes has passed, and the waiting heart marks every single one. Even so, I believe that joy carried Anna through eighty-four years of the silence of God.

A Celebration of Waiting

Today, in the era of instant-everything, I wonder if we forget that Advent is a celebration of waiting fulfilled. Christmas itself is the vindication of Old Testament believers who spent long, uncomfortable lives clinging to wispy words of prophecy and trusting God’s good intentions toward them. It’s the season of Mary’s “yes” to a nine-month obedience, a season of open-ended journeys prompted by visions and unexpected stars.

We also live in a world of waiting, and the only difference is that now we have the Hallmark Channel, our social media feed, and our frantic pace to distract us from our true situation, which A.W. Tozer described as “the interim time.”

We live between two mighty events—that of [Jesus’s] 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.”

We have a choice as we wait. We can fret and forget our purpose, or we can let his joy wash over us like a baptism in slow motion.

I know what Anna would have done.

Holding you in the Light,

Between ascension and glorification, we live in what Tozer called the “interim time.” We have a choice as we wait. We can fret and forget our purpose, or we can let his joy wash over us like a baptism in slow motion.

It’s Not too Late to Begin Your Celebration of the Light this Advent Season

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41 thoughts on “How to Find Christmas Joy in a World of Waiting”

  1. Waiting is not easy—but it builds character (and gives us time to develop character). May we always take time to develop our relationship with the One who loves us rather than just pass time while we wait.

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  2. “We have a choice as we wait. We can fret and forget our purpose, or we can let his joy wash over us like a baptism in slow motion.”
    Amen! May we remember and be faithful to Him in this, and every, season!
    This is beautiful, Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Michele, beautiful thoughts here. Yes, waiting is hard. I like the concept of us living in an interim time. This time is still meaningful. God works in the waiting, doesn’t He? May we wait in anticipation, faith, and hope.

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  4. “Because she waited well,”. I’ve been known to miss something as I drive, walk by or chat with friends. I wonder what I have missed due to my hurried lifestyle. Pressing through. Pressing God to hurry up and come. Waiting though uncomfortable and uneventful, is worth the effort. It is beneficial.

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  5. Lovely, Michele! Anna is a wonderful example of contentment in the midst of protracted waiting. I love your idea of celebrating our waiting. I can see Anna, her face aglow day after day as she took joy in God’s presence here and now, and lived in bright hope for what the future held. Ongoing worship (as was her habit) is key!

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  6. Such good insights, Michele! I never really gave a lot of thought to the waiting both Anna and Simeon did, always focusing more on the moments they each recognized Jesus as the Messiah. I like this phrase you wrote about our time of waiting: “Advent is a celebration of waiting fulfilled.”

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  7. Michelle,
    Thanks so much for stopping by!! They say good things come to those that wait and I truly do believe in that…
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  8. I like the season of advent and often can find joy in the waiting (though other times– like waiting for medical test results) it can be a real trial.

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  9. Michele, I love Tozer’s description that we are living in an “interim time” but not a vacuum. As long as we’re still here, we still have work to do. Thanks for the encouragement to wait like Anna.

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  10. Waiting is definitely not something I am good at! I do love that thought of letting God’s joy wash over us as we wait rather than fretting about having to wait. #MischiefandMemories

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  11. “We also live in a world of waiting, and the only difference is that now we have the Hallmark Channel, our social media feed, and our frantic pace to distract us from our true situation,” This had me laughing out loud. It is so true. Distractions abound in the present age. And yet they don’t help us wait any better. We are impatient as ever. Waiting with joy, that is a lifetime goal. Which takes a waiting without constant distraction. A quiet waiting so we can even remember why we are waiting and the reason behind the waiting. It takes a quieting and a thinking and listening to God and what he is saying.

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  12. I’m not good at waiting. . . and yet so much of life IS waiting! Advent is good practice, isn’t it? Thank you for “holding us in the light,” Michele.

    And thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party. I’m featuring you this week!

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  13. Christians have been waiting for centuries and will continue to wait and trust in the Lord. Hope endures. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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