For eight years I traveled a lot. One year in particular I never spent more than 12 consecutive days in any one place. It meant spending a lot of time waiting around in airports hoping that my plane would arrive on time, hoping my luggage arrived at the same time that I did, hoping that I didn’t miss any connections. “Sure hope we get out tonight,” “here’s hoping the plane takes off soon before I miss a connection,” “I hope my luggage makes it” (after running through an airport) are common sentiments that I overheard from other travelers on a regular basis. Waiting is tough and I became a pro at wasting time while waiting on planes and enduring lengthy layovers. Hoping and waiting, waiting and hoping was the name of the game for many years of my life.
Waiting and hoping are also what generations of people in Israel did for their entire lives. “Sure hope the Messiah comes soon,” “You think He might come in our lifetime? I hope so.” They waited and hoped, hoped and waited. For hundreds and hundreds of years. (And I get impatient after an hour!) They hoped for prayers to be answered, for deliverance to come, for fears to be stilled, for light to come. They hoped for the promise to be fulfilled. How long will we hope and wait?
How could they keep hoping for so long? The answer is found in Hebrews 6 – because God swore by Himself and He is faithful, trustworthy, unchanging. This was no pinkie promise, no small thing – this was the God of the universe, the God who is bigger than anything you can possibly conceive of making a promise to all of mankind that The Redeemer, The Saviour, The Messiah would come. And, so, they hoped and they waited because God could be trusted.
God had promised, yet they continued to hope and wait in the darkness and in the silence. And, then, oh, and then suddenly it was Christmas! “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) The waiting was over for the Hope of the world had come. Redeemer, Saviour, Messiah! The Promise fulfilled!
That first Christmas was the fulfillment of a promise and it’s the reminder to us to continue to hope even as we wait. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” When I’ve no where else to go, no where else to turn, no one else to talk to I’m reminded during this season that I’m anchored to the faithful, trustworthy, unchanging God of the universe. He is a firm place to rest, a secure refuge in the midst of life’s storms. And, so, I’ll hope and wait for the answer to come, for healing to come, for restoration to come because God promised.
Hoping and waiting, waiting and hoping for Christmas to come and remind us again that regardless of where we find ourselves today – in an airport, at home, on the other side of the ocean, with family or alone – we have hope because God is faithful to His promises.