Advent: The Season of Eager Anticipation

by: Kelly Tarr

Advent: The Season of Eager Anticipation

The internet is abuzz with all things advent. It is truly a special time of year, full of anticipation for when we celebrate the anniversary of Jesus’ first coming to earth and look forward to His second coming.  But, I am eagerly anticipating and desperate for another way in which Jesus comes. I am in need of seeing Jesus come into my circumstances and move in power every day.  Advent doesn’t only need to be a once-a-year event, but a daily one.

Advent: What Does it Really Mean?

Advent literally means “coming.” When we know someone is coming to our house, what do we typically do? Do we sit on the couch and eat bon-bons all day? Not usually, unless you have a maid and a hollow leg. We prepare for their visit by cleaning, preparing nourishing food, and even thinking and planning toward our conversation together. Our waiting involves preparation. It’s not idle.

I have deeply appreciated my pastor’s sermons over the past several weeks, as he’s been teaching us from the Word how to awaken the ache of advent. Inherent in his sermon series entitled, “Awakening the Ache of Advent,” is the assumption that we are longing for something. We are longing for Jesus to come.

So, if I am both looking for Jesus to come and longing for Him to come, it will affect how I live each moment. I will do everything I can to hasten His return and to prepare myself to meet Him.

Jesus, Come Into My Everyday Circumstances

When I say that I want to see Jesus come into my everyday circumstances, I mean that I am in desperate need for Jesus to open my eyes to His glory in the mundaneness of life. When I’m teaching my kids and an attitude crops up, I need real help to be patient, and even to speak words of life to that the child. I need Jesus to come in the moments when I’m tempted to sin in my discouragement. I need Jesus to come into my heart that so easily dulls and give me a glimpse of His glory so that I can walk more alive.

If I am truly being transformed from one degree of glory to another, it takes seeing His glory to get me there (2 Corinthians 3:18). I need His immeasurable greatness of power toward me (Ephesians 1:19) to be made manifest in the everyday situations. It is so easy to struggle through one challenge after another without inviting Him in.

So I ask Him to come. I get into His word as many times a day as possible, even just sentences at a time. I sing songs, sometimes just one-liners. This is how I wait for Him to come and change me in the mundane.

I don’t want to miss out on eagerly expecting Him to come now. The beauty of this is that as I encounter Jesus now, I’m being prepared for the day when I meet Him face to face.

Preparing to…Wait

We sit in a doctor’s office for two hours with cranky kids, or we stand in a long line at the grocery store. Both are seasons of waiting. What do we do in that time of waiting? It’s easy to slip into a mentality that waiting means doing nothing.  Webster’s definition of wait is, “to rest in expectation.”  

So, if I’m in the doctor’s office with my child, I will seek to prepare my child for the visit with the doctor. I will tell him about the doctor and about what will happen during the appointment. When his name is called, he won’t be surprised. And when we see the doctor, instead of fear being present, there will be peace and an expectation fulfilled.  In the time of waiting, he was being prepared for when the doctor would come.

Here’s another practical example. I have three children. We all know that a pregnancy lasts nine months. What if during my pregnancies, I just sat around thinking about how cute my baby would be? What if I never bought a diaper, wipes, clothes, never went to visit my midwife, and didn’t even pick out a name? I would be totally, utterly unprepared for the arrival of a baby. So unprepared in fact, that I wouldn’t be able to experience the joy that surrounds the birth of a new little life. It would be incredibly stressful.

Similarly, we know that Jesus is returning to the earth one day. We don’t know when, but we know according to the New Testament that we are living in the last days (Hebrews 1:12). It is easy to slip into a comfortable, non-urgent way of living. But we are commanded not to be found idle, but to be people who live lives of holiness and godliness, waiting and hastening the coming day of God (2 Peter 3:11-12) because that day will come like a thief (verse 10). The Lord wants us to be ready for His return, not caught surprised and unprepared.

Oh what joy there will be for those who eagerly wait and prepare for His return!

Watch With Wide-Eyed Wonder

I love reading the account of Simeon in Luke 2:25-2:32:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

What an example of waiting! He waited by watching eagerly, expecting the Lord to fulfill a promise He made. I wish that we could read a description of the emotions he expressed upon meeting the baby Jesus. I imagine he didn’t walk up to him and yawn. What tears, what wide-eyes, what praises must have tumbled out of his old body! It’s not as if the Lord couldn’t do it, but He did it! After all these years! God, in the form of a helpless baby! A fresh wonder at the marvelous promise-keeping God probably overtook him.

I want to live like this, every day. I want to live expecting Jesus to show up. And when He does, I want to marvel at my God, again. Not just at Christmas time or Easter, but every single day, in my messy life.

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