Advent 2019: “Waiting on the Promise”
by Nathan Parker, Senior Pastor
Dec. 1 – “Waiting for Fulfillment" (Luke 1:5-25, 39-45; focusing on Dec. 3 in “CLUAH” *)
Dec. 8 – Special Music with Choir and Orchestra, “Waiting on the Promise” (Isaiah 40:1-5; Dec. 13 in “CLUAH”)
Dec. 15 – "Waiting for Consolation" (Luke 2:22-35; Dec. 15 in “CLUAH”)
Dec. 22 – ““Waiting for Jesus to Show Up" (Luke 2:41-52; Dec. 22 in “CLUAH”)
Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve Service, “Waiting for Satisfaction” (Luke 1:39-55; Dec. 28 in “CLUAH”)
Dec. 29 – “Waiting for Freedom” (Luke 4:16-30; Dec. 29 in “CLUAH”)
* “Come Let Us Adore Him” – a 31-day devotional book by Paul David Tripp. Available for $5 in the Media Library.
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” – 1 Corinthians 1:20 (NKJV)
I love the Christmas holiday season – what a special time for our families and for our church family, too! I love the sights, the sounds, the smells – everything. It is easy, of course, in our culture of busyness and worry, to lose sight of the main thing during this special season. Christmas is not about the perfect family gathering, the perfect social media posts, or the perfect presents. It’s about a perfect Savior sent by a perfect Father to rescue this fallen world.
One way to correct our focus during the holidays is to immerse ourselves in the rich and meaningful historic tradition of the global church. The liturgical church calendar marks the first four weeks in December as the season of Advent. Advent is not the same thing as Christmas. According to the church calendar, the season of Christmas doesn’t even begin until December 25 and then lasts for only twelve days until January 6, Epiphany.
Advent literally means “arrival,” and it traditionally has been typified as a season of waiting. I confess that I am not a very patient person … waiting is difficult for me. I am reminded of this constantly as I strive to navigate in Nashville traffic. My children must inherit this quality from me, because any family car ride over twenty minutes inevitably evokes the chorus, “Are we there yet?!?” from the back seat.
But we all face times in our lives where we are forced to wait, and not just in traffic. Some people are waiting for an adult child to return to the faith they once professed. Some are waiting for an aging parent to transition from this life to the next. Some are waiting for God to heal their body or minds of a sickness. Some are waiting for a new life, a baby, to be added to their family. Some are waiting for God’s call into a vocation or a new job. Some are waiting on the financial resources to be able to pay their next bill. Some are waiting for a loved one to find salvation in Christ.
I think it’s important not to rush into Christmas. Yes, as Baptists we are free to sing “Joy to the World” and celebrate the truth that Christ has come at any time before December 25 (we can borrow from church liturgy/tradition without being slaves to it!). But I want us to also linger together in the tension of waiting this year. The Bible says that all of creation groans to be free from the bondage of sin (Romans 8:20-24). Then verse 25 says, “We wait for it with patience.”
So this Advent season, let us remember the promise of hope that God has given us – He has sent His only Son to earth, born in a manger, born to die for sinful humans. And let us also remember the promise of future hope – that Christ will return to put an end to death and suffering forever. And may we always hold fast to this truth, “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).
Grace and peace,