Originally published Sunday, 13 December 2015.
We know that advent means prepare. It’s challenging to prepare for something when you don’t know what the future holds. We tend to run every thinkable scenario through our minds to equip ourselves with everything just in case. There’s constant wondering planning, stewing, hoping, and dreaming. And there’s waiting.
When I first found out that I was carrying my daughter, I started dreaming of our family’s future right away. I planned and planned for our tomorrows. To think Mary was going to carry Jesus, the Savior of the world, does that make her planning more significant? Her wait less intense than a normal pregnancy? I think about how Mary was preparing not just for a new baby but a new husband. Imagine her busyness!
So why do we need to prepare for Christmas? How do we wait well to really prepare? Why do we need this time to get ready? After all, we are familiar with all that Christmas means right?
In the recent years, I found in my own Christmas celebrations, that traditions were becoming too familiar and routine. I felt I was missing moments to behold the manger, the Savior’s birth and I was just going through the Christmas tradition on auto pilot. Its funny (not really) how habits become just things we do. Soon habits, without reason, become the “way we do things because we’ve always done it this way” ideas.
How does that leave room for hope and anticipation?
It didn’t for me so I decided to make some changes. I stopped being so busy at Christmas and started making room for more Jesus in my mind and heart. Something wonderful happened. After the holiday rush settled, I was able to keep Jesus close all year round. By letting go of a few unimportant things, there is more room in my mind and heart to treasure the important things.
Is it really possible to wait well with joy and hope filled anticipation? How does one prepare to mother the Savior of the world? We all wonder what our children will become, so how do we anticipate those unspoken dreams?
As a momma, all ideas you hold regarding dreams and babies, need words of life spoken over them. They also need words to the Father who knows how to give life to everything. He is Hope, so when praying hope into our lives, be it for our children, dreams, or otherwise, we pray in faith.
Praying in faith includes God’s perfect timing. It may surprise you that God stands outside of time. Do you know He chose you and planned for our salvation before the foundations of the world, before time began? Do you know that He holds the entire world, the universe as we know it, and all life in His hands?
When I think about those hands of His…I treasure being held by them.
Isaiah 29:16“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” Our names are carved into His hands, and with Jesus every name was carved upon His heart. Mary held his baby hand that would later hold hers. With those hands, we can treasure that kind of eternal hold.
And speaking of plans, this verse is often missed at Christmas but it speaks of who has made some hope-filled future forward plans for each of us.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I treasure that image of Him planning for me.
I learned to wait well, knowing my life, my plans and my dreams are held by God’s hands. That makes Him my most personal kind of God who knows what my dreams are, how long I have waited, how long I have trusted in His plan, and how I have focused on Him to speak life over the things He has given.
I treasure and hold those moments close and leave the plans in His hands. To watch His plans unfold and know that He cared enough to give me what I needed and not a moment too late are breathtaking. I treasure those moments when I could do nothing but cry and yearn for Him to move in my life. I hold close those times of comfort during adversity, when He planned something different than I expected and prospered my faith through it. I dance and smile at the joy in His surprises. And my heart leaps for joy in those “aha” moments as I realize something new about Him.
When I think about how He thinks about me, I treasure that constant attention. I treasure those moments when I can feel His presence through the storms of life. I treasure the waiting times because He’s always been there for me, and to know God is to love Him. I love how He loves us in the wait.
I treasure how God prepares me in the wait. Faith prepares us all, but God’s great love burns and purifies our lives. A purified faith prepares us and gifts us with His holy anticipation. Take Heart and wait well, whatever life may bring, no matter the clouds, they will lift sooner or later, but we can take heart and wait! And treasure God in the wait!