In an Advent liturgy presented in our church, one word leaped off the page at me: "Expectations". That word rattled around in my brain for the rest of the service. What was so special about that word?
Psalm 62:5 – My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. (KJV)
2 Peter 1:19 – We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (NIV 2011)
As I reflected, I realized that I was reacting to the degree of reliability and certainty that is implied in the word "expectation". We don't just hope that Jesus will be coming back; we know that He is coming. We don't just hope for Christ in our lives; we know that if we accept Him, He lives within us. We don't just hope that we can count on the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives; we know that we can.
We're not just guessing at the promises of God; they're fully documented in His holy Word.
Psalm 119:89-91 – Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. (NIV 2011)
The promises of God are sure, and one of those promises is contained in Jesus' name, Emmanuel: "God with us." On Christmas morning, we don't just celebrate the birth of baby Jesus long ago. Something special happens here and now, in the present: the renewal of an intimate connection with the God who loved us so much that He came to live among us. In our mind's eye, with great expectation, we can go with the shepherds and wise men, and worship Him at the manger, and experience all over again the wonder of His birth.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You so much for the miracle of Christmas. Thank You for Your love for us — a love so great that You sent Your Son, a beautiful child, to live among us. Be near us today as we celebrate His birth and as we celebrate our faith. In Jesus' holy and precious name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Away In A Manger" (Lyrics)