Here’s A Thought for Dec. 1
“Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus Come!” (Revelations 22:20) This is the Christian’s ultimate prayer, the final longing that we hear in the Bible. Interestingly, in fact all of creation joins this chorus of waiting and longing — “The whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as God’s children.” (Romans. 8:19-23)
The season of Adventide is a time of preparing our hearts and minds as we wait for the Lord. Advent reminds us of the long waiting of the People of God for the promise of the Savior to be fulfilled. In fact the whole spiritual mood of the Old Testament is an urgent longing for the coming of the Savior. Isaiah gives expression to this longing as he prophesies of a Savior — For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
God’s redemptive mission has been accomplished in those who waited on God by faith alone in His messianic promise. The miraculous birth of Jesus reveals for us different people who were waiting in accordance with God’s messianic promise. For example “Simeon… righteous and devout was waiting for the consolation of Israel.” (Luke 2:25) Anna too waited and “did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.” (Luke 2:37)
The first to offer worship of the Divine Child were “the shepherds who had been out in the field, keeping watch.” (Luke 2:8) The miraculous star flashed brightly across the sky announcing the Birth of the Christ Child. The Wise Men in the East, who had been waiting for the manifestation of salvation understood the significance God’s Word, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near. A STAR SHALL RISE out of Jacob and a scepter shall spring up from Israel” (Numbers 24:17) and they followed the Star of Bethlehem to see the face of their Messianic God who was both the Son of God and the Son of Man, born of the Virgin Mary.
You and I join with all God’s family members down through the centuries as we exhibit the Adventide attitude as we reflect this constant waiting for the Lord in our lives. The psalmist gives expression to this attitude of faith — “I waited patiently for the Lord; He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1)
This spiritual attitude is truly contrary to today’s culture. It is the age of instant solutions available at our fingertips — some call it our fast food culture. We want service and we want it now! Even as we gather for worship. Instead of offering our service to God we have demanded that God “serve us” and answer our prayers for temporal or physical needs instantly. We reject “waiting patiently” for the will of God.
As we prepare for the Advent of Christmas — Birth of the Christ Child; for Christ’s Second Return on the Last Day; and Christ’s coming to us Word and Sacraments may we faithfully pray: “Maranatha,” which is Aramaic for “O Lord Come!” Amen
Chopp is a chaplain emeritus, MDiv, BCC, from Marshall