On Sunday we looked at the art of waiting. In Advent there is a sense and need to wait. We look forward to Christ’s coming, to his entering the world, and to our salvation.
And for many of us we are waiting for some significant things to happen in our lives. So how do we patiently wait in this season, how do we not give up, and even find what we are waiting for?
This is what we looked at on Sunday, preaching from an odd place ~ the page between the Old and New Testaments. This page represents a people of waiting. It represents the Israelite people expecting and desiring God to fulfill his promises. It represents a people waiting and longing for the Messiah.
The truth is though that the longer we wait, the less hopeful we get. But even while we wait we can still have hope, because the page always turns, the story doesn’t end.
We turned the page from the Old to the New Testament and read the first verse in Matthew 1:1 that says, “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus, the Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham”. Jesus arrives, the promises are fulfilled, the Messiah comes, and the waiting isn’t wasted. And we need to remember this in Advent with the promise of God’s arrival. That the waiting is never wasted, and Jesus does come, he does arrive.
Pope John Paul writes, “Advent is then a period of intense training that directs us decisively to the One who has already come, who will come and who continuously comes.” Jesus does come, he is always on his way, and he does arrive. So we have hope even in the waiting, and we must never ever give up, because Jesus is the one who comes to us.
Advent is about waiting, but it is also about finding. And when you wait for God it is never wasted. So we ended with this main point that Christ is coming, don’t give up waiting. If you are waiting from a dream, a healed friendship, marriage, a job, whatever it may be: don’t give up, Christ is coming.
We ended with three simple ways to put this waiting into practice. First, that we need to acknowledge and name what it is we are waiting for. Second we need to share with God the depths of what we hope for, long for, and strive for. We need to be honest with ourselves, and with God for what we hope for. And then thirdly we need to watch for his arrival.
Some missed Jesus’ arrival because they stopped watching, but Advent reminds us that Jesus does arrive. So watch for the arrival of Jesus in your life because with him comes health, life, and hope.
So the challenge for this week was simple: watch for Jesus’ arrival. And we prayed together this prayer from Revelation 22:20. Our Lord says, ‘Surely, I come quickly.’ Even so; come, Lord Jesus. May that be true in your life as well.
This is truly a different waiting from our familiar ‘waiting’. We wait for something different, quite different – we wait for God. Waiting for God cannot be like that kind of waiting which says or thinks: ‘It would be wonderful if he came; but if he does not come , then we must go one living without him.” We cannot wait for God so ready to resign ourselves to his not coming, so indifferent, so foolish, as we might wait for an increase in salary. No, that would be foolish, meaningless waiting if we really mean God. But if we will not be satisfied with what is offered us today as godlike words, we will go on waiting, with longing, seeking ,and hoping until at last, it is God himself who comes to help and to comfort…Then our waiting and hoping is not like a piece of wishful thinking, or a fantasy, but life itself. Then we live only because we wait for God. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Big Idea: Christ is coming, don’t give up waiting.
- Three responses in advent: Waiting, Willingness, and Worship
- Waiting is a part of life as a Christian
- God’s timing is not on-demand
- “Celebrating advent means learning how to wait waiting is an art which our impatient age has forgotten. We want to pluck the fruit before it has had time to ripen” Bonhoeffer
- The longer we wait, the less hopeful we get.
- You turn the page from a place of waiting to a place of finding
- Advent is then a period of intense training that directs us decisively to the One who has already come, who will come and who continuously comes. Pope John Paul
- Jesus is the one who comes to us.
- Advent is about waiting but it is also about finding.
- When you wait for God it is never wasted.
- Christ is coming, don’t give up waiting.
- We truly acknowledge what we need and what we are hoping for
- Share with God what you are waiting for
- Watch for Jesus arrival
- Our Lord says, ‘Surely, I come quickly.’ Even so; come, Lord Jesus. Rev 22:20
Adult / Group Discussion Questions: What stuck out to you from the sermon? What was challenging to you? How did God speak to you through it? What was new? What made you laugh? If you were given the marshmallow test as a child – how would you have done? What are you currently waiting for? What makes it difficult? What helps to make the waiting “easier”? How are you watching for the arrival of Jesus in your life? How might you try to watch for him this week? Who can help to journey with you as you wait and watch?
Discussion Questions for Young Families: Try the marshmallow experiment with your kids. See how long they would last. Tell them if you would have found it really tough to do. Take sometime to talk to them about the importance of waiting, and patience. Remind them too that in the big things of life Jesus promises to show up.
Challenge for this Week: Watch for Jesus’ arrival