This Sunday we enter into the season known as Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means coming. Traditionally, Advent is celebrated as the season leading up to Christmas which begins exactly four Sundays before December 25th. As early as the fourth century A.D., Christians would normally fast during this season because the whole purpose of Advent was to look forward to the second coming of Christ.
That being said, the essence of the Advent season is found in the posture of preparation and expectant waiting.
So if the Christian life is about expectant waiting then we must ask ourselves what it means to actually find ourselves in a posture of waiting?
We can begin by acknowledging that waiting always implies an object of focus. You cannot find yourself in a position of waiting unless there is something very specific that you are actually waiting for.
So what are we as Christians waiting for?
In the second half of Jesus' teaching in Matthew 24, we find the answer. Jesus the Christ who is the eternal Son of God and the everlasting Savior of Man is going to return and bring God's final sweeping judgement upon all who have live and died on the earth.
Like Noah in the Old Testament, only those who respond with reverent fear and faithfulness to what God has revealed in Christ will be saved from this global judgement. And as we have been warned, this return of our King will occur at an unsuspecting moment when everyone is just going about their normal everyday lives. Therefore, we must always be prepared.
Do you find yourself eagerly awaiting the eternal life that God has promised and provided for us in Christ? Is there a strong desire in the depths of your soul that longs for more of the power and presence of God than you are currently comprehending and experiencing? Is it easy to find yourself so distracted with the busyness of life that you quickly lose the posture of waiting expectantly on the return of our King?
Obedience to the truth of the gospel is not constantly working to excel in our moral performance but confidently being prepared and eagerly waiting for what our faith in Christ has promised.
And so, if the Christian life is about waiting for our King and the promise of eternal life in His glorious Kingdom, what are we to do while we are waiting here on earth?
We need to live each and every day like Noah was probably living his days between the time that he was warned about the flood up until the day the flood finally came. Think about that.
We need to be ready and continue to prepare ourselves and our families and our loved ones for that day of final judgement. We also need to be warning those around us of what's coming and about the only Way to escape it. Living with this level of urgency and preparedness will convict some and further condemn others. However, either way, our lives and our message ought to never just leave people content and comfortable with a life of worldly normalcy.
To put this another way, the Christian life here on earth is about loving others and preparing ourselves for the One that we love. Like a young bride preparing herself for that moment she’ll stand before her groom, we ought to be preparing ourselves for that moment we’ll stand face to face in the presence of Christ.
The Bible continually uses this metaphor telling us how Christ is the Bride-Groom, and we as Christians are His bride. The Christian life is about being prepared and expectantly waiting for the One who has already demonstrated and pledged His love for you forever.
Are you someone who seems to be constantly working on your life and your own moral performance? Are you someone who seems to be casually wandering through your life primarily focused on yourself and what you might be able to gain from God? Or are you a Christian confidently waiting for another life with the Lord that you love and loving others around you while you wait?
A good measure of your Christian condition is whether or not you expect your life here in this world to be the waiting period or the actual wedding party.
May we be people that are prepared and expectantly waiting for the return of our King.
So what is it that we are anticipating and waiting for so expectantly this Christmas season? Where is our focus these four weeks leading up to December 25th? May we avoid the onslaught of worldly distractions that overwhelm us this time of year and shift our focus back upon waiting in wonder for our King who has come and will one day come again.