Christmas is a season of anticipation. Some of you might be counting down the days until you get to bake cookies or exchange presents with your family. You might be looking forward to the ugly Christmas sweater contest at work or your Bible study’s white elephant gift party.
(You might also be like me and are way too excited for the upcoming Spider-Man movie.)
But whether you are excited about Christmas or blockbusters, there is something greater we should be looking forward to. Something infinitely better than any present or get-together.
One thing from the Christmas story that always strikes me is the reaction of the chief priests and scribes in Matthew 2. Herod summons them to determine the location of the Messiah’s birth (see Matthew 2:1-12). You would think that these scholars who spent years of their lives studying the Scriptures would be excited to hear that Christ had come.
And it’s not like they didn’t know what the magi were talking about, they knew the exact city and even gave a citation from a reputable source (like all good scholars).
But they don’t appear to care much about what the magi are saying. At least, the Bible doesn’t tell us if they did anything with the knowledge of the Messiah’s birth.
I can’t help but wonder, had they given up hope? Had it been so long since they had heard from God that they thought He had forgotten them?
Or were they simply lost in apathy and distraction?
And I wonder if maybe we too have become apathetic towards Jesus’ promise to return.
He said He was going to come the first time and He did. So what makes us think He isn’t going to come back again?
When the world starts to say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” (1 Peter 3:4), we need to remember that God keeps His promises.
While no one knows when Jesus will return, we do know He will come back. It could be today, it could be another thousand years. But He is coming.
And we need to be waiting for Him.
Just like we prepare for Christmas, we need to ready our hearts to receive Him. We must be like the wise virgins from Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25 and not grow weary in waiting. We should be the servants the Master finds working when He returns and not the lazy servant who believes He is never coming home (Matthew 24:45-51).
This Christmas season, no matter what things we might be eagerly awaiting, let’s live in anticipation of Jesus’ return.