An Unusual Holiday Word

An Unusual Holiday Word

What do you think is the quintessential hallmark of this holiday season?

For some, it may be the lights or the gifts or spending time with family. We look forward to good meals, good times, and making new memories with those we love.

As we look through the Christmas story there is actually one word that may be the most important word of them all – waiting.

In our hurry-up, fast-paced world “waiting” might seem like a strange word to think about at this time of year. If anything the holiday causes us to “hurry” – hurry up and get to the mall, wrap the presents, make the meal, clean the house, decorate, the list goes on and on, with seemingly never enough time to get it all done.

That is exactly why “waiting” might be the most important word for this time of year.

The whole story of Christmas is about a people that had been waiting. For hundreds of years a Messiah had been foretold, and yet year after year the promise remained unfulfilled, until…a baby was born, a baby that many had been waiting for.

One of the most fascinating parts of this account of Jesus birth is the weaving in of two unique individuals of Simeon and Anna, who are a brief mention in the unfolding story of Jesus’ life.

But these two – Simeon and Anna – understood one simple thing – waiting.

The New Testament account describes them both as well-advanced in years, and both were very faithful to God. Simeon was described as “righteous and devout” which means he kept Jewish law and honored God in all he did. Anna lived at the Temple, praying constantly. She had given her later years of life in full-time service to God.

Not much more is said about Simeon but that “He was waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon Him.” And so Simeon spent – some a lifetime – waiting.

The story goes on and those years of patient believe are fulfilled in a moment as they see that which they have been waiting for, they rejoice that their prayers and waiting have been answered, and then, just like that, they fade from the scene.

Waiting is hard, it isn’t glamorous, yet it is beautiful in how it causes us to slow down and put our trust in God. Our waiting can be an acknowledgment that we are dependent on God, on His power to do what only He can do. A posture of waiting will bring about a humility in us, and we know that it is in humility that true strength is found.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of this season, let us take time to recognize that our own wisdom and strength is insufficient to bring light, hope, and change in our world. That is the story we celebrate. We need God, even if that means waiting for His timing for things to happen.

Simeon and Anna found fulfillment not in a lifetime of outward accomplishment, but in spending their lives in waiting for the God of Israel to bring His promise to pass. May we be a generation like them that sees God’s promise and finds the beauty in the waiting.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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