The Advent season is about celebrating the coming of Christ. Four weeks of anticipation leading up to Christmas when The Gift was delivered. A celebration of “waiting with anticipation”, knowing that expectations will definitely be met because the Christ has already been born to us. The Savior has already come; He is here. Emmanuel.
When our children were young, I found a sweet Advent devotional that we read every day. It was designed for younger kids and we would eat breakfast together and read our devotional. Every year we went through this until they began to get older and the readings seemed too young for Oldest Manchild and Girlchild.
One Christmas, my sister let us borrow her Jesse tree devotional book and ornaments. Her children were off to college and she knew the Jesse tree was “just right” for ours. Each day’s reading included a devotional for the family, with an additional section for deeper study, based on the biblical prophecies about Jesus. There was an ornament to hang on a tree that matched each day’s reading. The Jesse tree got its name from Isaiah 11:1, There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
My children loved the Jesse tree. They loved and eagerly anticipated reading the Bible, talking about the prophecies, unwrapping the ornaments and hanging them on a tabletop Christmas tree. This simple 15-minute activity helped us to stay focused on waiting for the right things during the holiday season.
I must admit, when the kids got too old and life became busier and chaotic with studying, church activities, school choir/band rehearsals and concerts and Hubby’s and my own Christmas-musician-killer-schedule, I secretly missed the Jesse tree time together. I missed the time TOGETHER, period. The Advent season shifted to anticipation of this or that child coming home from college, favorite foods and menus prepared for the season, holiday shopping, favorite movies to watch…not much about true Advent but still waiting in anticipation for things to come.
The last two weeks as I’ve put away wedding things and pulled out Christmas décor, planned menus, shopped, planned fun activities for when the family is together, I’ve thought a lot about waiting for things. We are all waiting for something. I waited with great anticipation for Oldest Manchild’s wedding over Thanksgiving weekend. So much to plan and do and experience and celebrate! I waited with anticipation to find a dress for the wedding, changing plans 3 times in the process, until I finally found the right one 2 weeks before! Waiting to meet this or that exercise and weight goal since making a healthy lifestyle change last February. Waiting to see if Girlchild had a successful week at school teaching 6th graders. Waiting to see if Youngest Manchild finished another college application. Waiting to see if Hubby would make his deadline for the next chapter of his doctoral dissertation. Watching to see if year-end giving to the ministry would cover the expenses for the end of the year in a tight economy. Even simple things like waiting for a package to arrive and making sure I bring it in immediately so no one helps themselves at my doorstep. Waiting for the next hair appointment knowing my roots are showing or waiting for the first bloom on my Christmas cactus. Waiting for the flyers advertising the Christmas-week sales at the grocery and simply waiting in line…everywhere.
We are ALL waiting for something. I have friends waiting for their next treatment with the hope and anticipation that it will work toward making them healthy again. I have friends waiting for a call from a sibling because a parent had a possible stroke yesterday. I have friends waiting for a call from a wayward child and praying that one day they will receive it. I even have a friend waiting for her ticket to ride home with Jesus—a nearly lifelong fight with cancer—home from the hospital now with hospice care. She is waiting too, anticipating meeting with her Savior face to face. Will this time be the one?
We are ALL waiting for SOMETHING. Some of us don’t even know what we are waiting for but we know we are waiting for something; something to change, something to happen to us, someone to sweep us off our feet, someone for us to love or who will love us, some ONE to change, some THING to change. We feel the rumbling within us and know we are waiting for something but we just don’t know what it is. An unsettled feeling that something is coming. Advent.
What are you waiting for? Do you know? My friend waiting for Jesus to call her name is the only one I’ve listed whose expectation is guaranteed to be fulfilled beyond any imaginable limits. No disappointment. No disillusionment. I look at what I’m waiting for and it’s a toss-up as to whether or not it will come out like I hope, that it will even come at all, that it will be satisfying, that it will be worth waiting for. Advent.
Dear friends, I encourage you to wait for Jesus. Anticipate Him in every day. Anticipate Him in the little things. Expect to read the Scripture and have it come alive for you through the power of the Holy Spirit. Live today anticipating His interaction with you. Wait with anticipation and excitement for the One who will never disappoint or disillusion and expect to find Him! And don’t miss this…He’s waiting for YOU.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious—Isaiah 11:10.