ANTICIPATION: Almost no one gets more excited about the approaching event of Christmas day than children. All the activities prior to Christmas build up to a climax that causes such excitement they almost burst with excitement. Do you remember those days in your own life? And now in the lives of your children and possibly your grandchildren and possibly your great-grandchildren? And as Christians don’t we enjoy all the music, and church programs and special sermons. And we should not forget the dinners, socials, and family gatherings. And what about the gift giving? Don’t we love to give gifts and receive gifts? And I trust in all this we don’t lose Jesus in the Christmas wrappings. After all Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ and God’s great gift to mankind. Anticipation is a big part of the entire Christmas season.
The nation of Israel received a promise from God that was delivered from the prophet Isaiah concerning the future arrival of Jesus, the Savior, to the earth. Isaiah ministered in Israel approximately in the years 740-690BC. So by the time the first Christmas arrived the people of Israel had been looking for the Savior Messiah in anticipation for a long time. But God had said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel,” (Isaiah 7:14 NIV). And they waited and waited and waited. And then the day came.
You know the story of Joseph and Mary and the birth of Christ. Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant and the bible says, “But after he (Joseph) had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” which means “God with us,” (Matthew 1:20-23). And Joseph obeyed God and “took Mary home as his wife.” I am sure the people in the nation of Israel never anticipated God working in this way. They had great ANTICIPATION of God fulfilling His promise but never would they have thought in this manner. And I am sure in Israel some thought God would never keep the word of the prophet and had given up all hope of God doing anything. God always keeps His promises but not always in the manner we have thought.
As we anticipate all the joys of this Christmas season let us not forget the great plan of God down through the ages that has brought us to this point. And sometimes as we age Christmas can become routine…same oh…same oh. But just maybe God wants to use this season to refresh us in our anticipation of Christmas day and how we can use it to become more than just a day of gifts, food, sports, traditions and things that cause us to lose sight of what we are really celebrating. And as we remember the first coming of Christ let us with great anticipation look for His second coming and our celebration at that time because God always keeps His word.