The Christmas story closed one gap – Israel’s waiting for God to appear – but opened others. Those at the nativity waited for Jesus to start his ministry, but he spent thirty years growing up. The apostles waited three years for Jesus to bring his Kingdom, but following his death, burial, and resurrection, he ascended into heaven, his Kingdom still to come. The church has waited for Jesus to return with his Kingdom, but for 2000 years he has said, “Not Yet.”
2000 years is a long gap for waiting. Long gaps are hard on longing. Has yours stretched to a sharp point and pierced you with grief, or dwindled to a dull end and died? How much time or interaction do you have with Jesus? What patterns of behavior have you witnessed in Jesus? How trustworthy has Jesus been in the time you have known him? How trustworthy has he been recently?
I set my feet in this: God said he would come once and a he did. The Heavenly Father sent the Incarnate Son – Jesus our Emmanuel. And He did not simply come to make an appearance; he came to make atonement—to make all things new again by dying for the sins of the world.
Daily I spend time with this Jesus, because He lives and grants me access to Him. I have witnessed in Him a pattern of self-giving love, undeniable humility, wise teaching, and relentless obedience to His Father. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
So when Jesus says, “I will come again,” I wait patiently (I hope). And I believe him. I trust him. I long for him, knowing all longings are summed up in his second Advent.
I originally composed this Advent reflection for Leesburg Grace, my church family, as part of a Christmas Communion celebration. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel inspired the thematic focus on waiting and longing.