waiting on christmas

A couple of years ago I was doing some Christmas shopping at Kohl’s. Items in hand, I headed to the front of the store to pay, but the checkout line started there, wove its way through the store, and stopped at the back of the store. I found a nice associate holding a sign which read, “Line Starts Here,” so I got in line. A few minutes later the line had moved, but it seemed to be very little. Some more time passed, and I was in the middle of the line. Line in front. Line behind, and the nice guy holding the sign was out of sight. All I could do was wait. Wait until it was my turn to pay.

While most of us do not like it, waiting is a part of life. We wait to pay. We wait at the doctor’s office. Elevate our stress and anxiety, and it seems like we wait even longer. We can’t get around the dreaded wait.

The Bible tells us Simeon and Anna waited a long time for the first Christmas. In chapter 2, Luke introduces us to these two faithful believers, and tells us they were eagerly anticipating Christ’s arrival. Simeon’s exact age is not revealed. He is only referred to as an elderly man, so we can assume he had been waiting for Jesus for many years. Anna is 84-years-old, and Luke says she has been coming to the temple daily for 60 years awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. That’s 60 years of watching, hoping, and waiting.

Simeon and Anna were masters at waiting. Doing the same thing daily for 60 years. There may have been moments of discouragement, but they kept waiting because of their faith.

I waited in the Kohl’s line until it led me to the front of the store where I discovered a beehive of activity. There were 4 cashiers and 4 associates putting items in bags. Other associates were running from place to place to replace damaged items and make sure shoppers had exactly what they wanted. One person was breaking the line into 4 parts to ensure a smooth transition to the checkout. Much activity was happening that I missed when I was standing in the back and middle of the store in line waiting my turn.

In the same way, Simeon and Anna waited. They had no idea of the Lord’s activity to prepare for Jesus’ birth. Enemy nations were being conquered. Long seasons of peace were being established. Roads were being constructed for easier travel and people were being prepared. All to fulfill Scripture. Mankind couldn’t see God at work in the moment, but looking back, history teaches us the Lord was hard at work in the days leading up to Christmas.

Simeon and Anna didn’t realize or even understand the Lord was hard at work. They only waited hopefully and faithfully. Could it be the same for us? Could the Lord be hard at work to bring about what we are waiting on? Could it be he just needs us to wait hopefully and faithfully a little longer? When the timing is right and everything is ready, our prayer will be answered, the needed change will succeed, and the other things for which we are waiting will happen.  

Simeon and Anna spent a lifetime waiting, and they were blessed to see Jesus as a baby. Their blessing was worth the wait. It will be worth the wait for us as well. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

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