A few weeks ago, my six-year-old son informed me that this year we needed to set our Christmas tree up in our basement. Since we don’t really do anything but wash laundry and store junk in our basement, I was a bit puzzled by his request. When I asked him why, he answered, “Well, you know how they say, ‘you go downstairs and find presents under the tree’?” I chuckled to myself as I explained to him that some people have two-story houses with bedrooms upstairs and that we would be keeping our Christmas tree in the living room. He replied with simple “oh” and a cute grin.
That was back in October, and he was already eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Christmas holiday. Well, actually, he’s been asking how long until Christmas ever since Christmas ended last year. To help my sanity, I taught him to ask our Amazon Echo because it will give him the exact number of days. Let’s just say he’s excited.
Now, we’re approaching December, and at church, Advent season is upon us. Advent simply means “coming,” and during the several weeks before Christmas day we set aside time in our services to reflect on the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded of the promises that God had made to his people and the hope, love, joy, and peace represented by Jesus’ birth. At that time, there were many people who were eagerly awaiting the coming of God’s anointed one who would rescue his people.
In his gospel, Luke tells us the story of what happened when Joseph and Mary presented Jesus at the temple. We read about a righteous and devout man named Simeon. He had been waiting for the consolation of God’s people, and the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Christ. When he saw the eight-day-old Jesus at the temple, he rejoiced and praised God for the salvation that would ultimately come through this little baby. We also see the story of a prophetess named Anna, a woman who worshiped at the temple day and night, fasting and praying. Coming up to Jesus and his new parents, “she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2).
Simeon and Anna are just two examples of faithful individuals who were eager to see the work of God among his people. Jesus’ presence at the temple that day signaled the arrival of God’s salvation, and these saints rejoiced as they recognized the long-awaited answer to their prayers. It was good news for all who were looking forward to redemption.
So, as we near the arrival of Christmas, I consider the things to which I look forward. For us, Advent is a season of anticipation, and the eagerness of my son and the hope of Anna and Simeon instruct me in similar ways. As I think about the excitement of my son as he waits for Christmas to come, I am challenged in my own love and desire for the gift of God in Jesus Christ. I want to have that kind of passion for the coming of my Lord. Like Simeon and Anna, I wait in enthusiastic expectation to see the salvation of my God. I am in awe of the humble way in which God the Son took on flesh and came to earth in the form of a servant, and I eagerly await his second coming when he will redeem creation and make all things new.