An on-time arrival is much appreciated – especially in Thanksgiving week!
But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son.
Galatians 4:4 (The Message)
A Man of Zarephath
He made his way up to the roof top, just before dawn. This has been his practice for a long time. He starts his day praying and meditating on God’s Word as the sun dawns. Soon, he’ll gather his family together to pray and have devotions with them.
While he’s praying privately, his wife stokes the fire in the oven and bakes fresh bread for the day.
The aroma of freshly baked bread wafts up to where he is. Its triggers his memory of a day long, long ago.
He was a little boy living with his mother. His father had died and left them penniless. The day finally arrived where they had nothing left except just enough flour and oil for one more loaf of bread.
God Was On Time
They were going to die if God didn’t save them in time.
That morning the prophet of the LORD, Elijah, arrived. Just in time, as it turned out. They had nothing left, or so they thought.
The flour and oil miraculously did not run out! They were saved!
Now, so many years later, he still remembers that day when salvation arrived just in time. A smile plays across his face. The smell of baking bread reminds him also that he’s still waiting for salvation to arrive – this time in the form of the Messiah of God! For decades he and his family have been waiting.
The world has been waiting for thousands of years up to that point. It’s so hard to wait! But wait they must. And they will have to wait for another 800 years or so.
The Messiah Arrived on Time
But Messiah will arrive.
And he did arrive, in the form of a tiny baby in a manger of the little town of Bethlehem.
The Advent season in the Church Year is based on all that time of Old Testament waiting. It is about a four-week season to remember that the people of God waited a long time for the arrival of the Messiah.
The Advent hymn O Come, O Come, Immanuel tells of that wait.
Christmas Eve is the celebration of the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ-child.
You see, Jesus arrived on time, the time prophesied to come.
Jesus arrived in this world to take our place under God’s Law. In other words, He came to save us.
A Long Wait
The wait was a long time. And it seemed – or felt – like a long time. No so much because it was, but because of our sin. Sin can make us anxious, impatient, frustrated that things aren’t happening fast enough.
How would I have felt to have to wait my whole life for Christmas to arrive, only to have been born hundreds of years too early?
Because of the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God, the waiting may seem long, but it isn’t interminable.
And there are ways we can deal with the waiting we endure in this life. Because we are still waiting. Not for the first coming of the Messiah but for his Second Coming! We can wait faithfully the same as the man from Zarephath. Pray daily, meditate of Gods’ Word, and worship with the family. The Holy Spirit gives us the strength of waiting in just this way!
This week will find many people waiting for on-time arrivals. Flights home, long car trips, mom and dad in the front window waiting to see the car lights of returning family for the holiday.
We can wait in the same way. Prayer. Reading God’s Word. Worship of Jesus.
All of that leads us to wait for the ones we pray will arrive on time.
Just as Jesus did. Just as Jesus will.
Heavenly Father, I am waiting for an on-time arrival. Give me the strength and patience to wait. I pray that just as Jesus arrived on time to save me and all people, I will also arrive on time. I pray that those I await will arrive on time and safely. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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