Advent: Awaiting Arrivals – by Laura Urista
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Advent is a time of expectation, anticipation and waiting. Ancient Israel awaited the arrival of a Savior – the Messiah to establish his kingdom of peace. The Magi awaited the arrival of a magnificent star to guide them to the newborn king. Mary awaited the arrival of her son, whom she named Jesus (Savior). Every year at Christmas-time, we await the arrival of friends and family at dinners and celebrations.
ARRIVAL DATE: DECEMBER 2020
Three years ago at Christmas-time our family awaited a special arrival—our second grandchild. She was due on December 22 and “Pops” and I drove to our son’s home (six hours away) a few days early. We hoped to spend a little time with the family before the baby was born. I planned to stay and babysit granddaughter Heather (then age four) while our son, Tim, and daughter-in-law, Cristina, were at the hospital. I would also be there to help with household duties when the new baby arrived. As Christmas Eve approached, Cristina’s contractions got stronger and closer together and we awaited thebaby’s arrival at any time.
But Christmas Eve came and went…and no baby. Christmas Day came and went…still no baby. Another day went by…and still no baby. At that point Cristina’s doctor decided to induce labor. “Pops” had to drive home that morning, truly disappointed that he wasn’t able to see our new grand-daughter yet. He would have to wait another week till he drove back to pick me up. I stayed with Heather and we had a wonderful day playing with her new Christmas presents, while her parents were at the hospital—undoubtedly having a lot less fun than Heather and I!
As evening rolled around and it was time for bed, Heather couldn’t understand why her parents and new baby sister weren’t home yet. “Why are Mommy and Daddy still gone? I need them!” poor little Heather said, with tears streaming down her face. She simply could not be consoled.
They say “patience is a virtue.” Patience is also a gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, NLT). It can be difficult for us to wait, and even harder to understand why we have to wait. Sometimes it feels like God is far away and we don’t understand why he isn’t “right here, right now” fixing everything for us. We may think, “Why is God still gone? I need him!” But he is always here with us, every moment of every day. We can trust in his promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, NKJV).
Finally, after I read Heather several of her favorite books and sang a few lullabies, she drifted off to sleep. About an hour later, I was awakened by a text from Tim saying baby Megan had been born, and everyone was doing fine.
ARRIVAL DATE: ETERNITY
As I thanked God for the safe arrival of our precious baby Megan, I was reminded of the “long-awaited arrival” of another baby. The One who came to bring his eternal kingdom of peace, love and freedom to all the world. While we observe Jesus’ first arrival as an infant every Christmas, the world still awaits his eternal kingdom of peace in its fullness. But for Christ-followers, his kingdom arrives anew for each of us every day – as he reigns in our hearts and lives. His birth was foretold by prophets and announced in the lyrics of this classic hymn by Charles Wesley:
Come Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation; Hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.
May we celebrate our Savior’s arrival and find our rest in him this Christmas, and always. Amen.
Laura Urista is the managing editor of CWRm and Plain Truth magazine.