17 Dec “Expectation This Christmas” by Steve VanHorn
I love the Christmas season. I love it even more as I experience it through my children’s eyes! We begin to anticipate when we see…
The lights, the first snow, the first Christmas carol on the radio, and a host of other Christmas related objects that first begin to appear.
I am like Buddy the Elf in Gimbals when he learns that Santa is coming! “SANTA!!!” I am so excited, but the reasoning for my excitement has shifted. My excitement is not because I anticipate gifts or a warm sense of Christmas spirit; although, don’t be surprised if you catch me singing loud for all to hear!
I am excited because Jesus has readjusted why I anticipate the coming of Christmas. In one of our recent family devotions, where we sit around the dinner table and read scripture and learn together something about God, we discussed how Christmas took us from a hopeless situation and gave us hope.
Listen to how the prophet Isaiah describes our “situation.” “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone” (Isaiah 9:2). Do you hear the contrast? Darkness. Light. That was our status. We walked in darkness, stumbling and despondent. But then when no one was expecting it, our situation changed!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,…” (Isaiah 9:6-7). The prophet was excited. God’s people were in despair and wandered in what seemed like unending darkness, but he saw hope and knew he could fully expect what he foretold to come to pass.
On that fateful Christmas night, Luke records the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy and notice the expectation that comes along with it:
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:10-14)
Who do the angels expect to experience peace? Their expectation is that all who receive this heavenly gift of Jesus would no longer walk as if they are still in darkness but would be a people exuding peace, joy, and abundant life to all who they encounter. While I still enjoy all the Christmas traditions, remembering the real reason for my anticipation is what brings me eternal joy and comfort!