We see the Christmas Story in Luke 2:1-20. This is a well known and often repeated story, especially at this time of year. As Joseph and Mary are in the stable we find a very interesting verse:
Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
It says “…the days were accomplished…” It means that what god had promised, had come to pass. That for which they had waited, had been accomplished.
Do you remember what it was like when you were a child and waiting for Christmas Day? The tree was decorated, the presents were wrapped and stacked up under and around the tree. Names were on every package. All that was left to do was wait for Christmas morning before you could open the presents.
Christmas Eve was always a very difficult day for me as a child. I have never been very good at waiting. I did not want to wait for Christmas morning to open the Christmas presents. I remember that my brother and sister and I looked at every package. We shook them, smelled them, but never peeked inside of them. (At least we would never admit it if we did.) We couldn’t wait until Christmas morning! That is where our family tradition of opening one present on Christmas Eve began!
As we have gotten older the anticipation has changed. Now it is not the excitement of opening presents with our names on them that we desire, as parents, we now look forward to our children and grandchildren opening the gifts that we purchased for them. We cannot wait to see them open the presents we had for them. We want to see the joy on their faces after opening the gifts. There is nothing quite like the anticipation of Christmas Day.
Anticipation is what the Christmas Story is all about…
God promised the world the “Seed of the Woman” in Genesis 3:15.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
For 4,000 years the world had waiting…
The prophets in Israel had foretold HOW the Messiah, the Seed of the Woman, would be born of a Virgin!
Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
The prophet Isaiah also told WHO He would be…
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The prophet Micah foretold WHERE he was to be born…
Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
The shepherds came with great anticipation to see the Saviour…
Luke 2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
The wise men had spent a lifetime studying and learning about the coming King…THEN…the star appeared!
Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
The incarnation of Christ was the culmination of all of God’s plan of Redemption.
We often get into trouble because we do not handle anticipation and waiting very well. I have often said, “The hardest lesson I’ve ever had to learn is that I’m in a hurry, and God is not!”
There is a principle seen over and over in the Scriptures:
God often makes a promise
But He often does not tell us WHEN He is going to fulfill His plan.
It took 4,000 for God to fulfill His promise of sending the Messiah.
We have been waiting for over 2,000 years for Jesus to return again.
The Bible tells us…
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 59:9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defense.
It is a Biblical principle to wait. We see in the life of Abraham:
Abraham was promised a son, but he didn’t like waiting. Because of his impatience he tried to “help” God fulfill the promise he took things into his own hands.
1st human effort – Eliezar (steward of Abram’s house) Genesis 15:1-6
This was human reasoning making a plan.
2nd human effort – Ishmael (Son of the Bondwoman) Genesis 16:1-16
This decision was the result of wrong counsel.
God’s Plan – Isaac (Son of Promise) Genesis 17:19
This was God’s perfect plan
The timing was not what Abraham expected
The timing was not what Abraham wanted
But Isaac was worth the wait!
God may not work as quickly as you desire. He usually does not do things the way we expect Him to or at the time we desire, but God’s best is always worth waiting for. Satan’s best always leaves you hopeless and helpless
When I was a boy, I loved playing with my neighbors HO scale electric race car track. His track was set up on a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood. It had little houses and other buildings around the track. There were trees, bridges, rivers and even a downtown area of a town. We would spend many hours racing those cars in his basement. I wanted one so badly, but we couldn’t afford one.
One day, I saw an electric race track set advertised on the back of a cereal box. It looked really cool! I saved box tops from many boxes of cereal. I saved my money and sent in the order form. I then had to wait six to eight weeks for delivery. It seemed like it took forever for that package to come. I came home from school one day and Mom told me the package had come. I remember how excited I was to open that package. What I pictured in my mind was a track just like my neighbors’. I was expecting a high-quality track, with really fast cars!
When we opened the box we saw something VERY different. It was a very small track, no more than about twenty-four inches in diameter. The cars did not have motors in them. They had little tabs in the bottom that fit in groves in t4he track. The track had a little, battery operated motor that simply vibrated. The vibration was supposed to make the cars go around the track. It “kind of” worked. My brother and I were so disappointed. This was NOT what we expected, and it was not worth waiting for. May I tell you, God’s promises and God’s will is worth waiting for!
Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Waiting is Active Faith! It is believing God enough to wait for Him to work
Are you waiting, with anticipation, for God to work?
Are you waiting, with anticipation, for Jesus to return?