Advent Devotional: Saturday, December 8

Theme: Hurry Up and Wait

Written by Mary Wall, First Congregational Church of Fresno

Isaiah 42:1-9

I remember as a child excitedly waiting for the arrival of boxes of Christmas gifts from out of state relatives. My mother put them under the tree when they came in early December, and my siblings and I spent countless hours shaking those boxes, speculating what those gifts would be. Oh, the possibilities! Perhaps the latest toy that we wanted, or a huge box of candy. Surely it was something we even better than we imagined. Somehow, opening the gifts on Christmas morning only to find pajamas, other clothing, or homemade crafts items never seemed to compare to the visions that had been dancing in our heads all month.

The Israelites awaited their coming Savior in a similar way. They knew he was coming. They had heard the prophets and speculated for hundreds of years about what he would be like. Surely, he was going to be everything they imagined: a King, a Warrior, a Ruler to get revenge on their enemies. This was the One who would finally bring the justice they had sought for so long. And this Savior was going to bring it in just the way they desired. Or even better. But when Jesus showed up, He did not quite meet their expectations.

In our own lives it is easy to expect God to show up for us in similar ways: heal our sick friends and relatives, help us find the perfect spouse/job/house, or get that parking spot when we are in such a hurry. However, isn’t it more often that God gives us the unexpected, which allows us to question, to wonder, or to experience hardship? Why?

This reminds me of a saying I heard as a child, “Our disappointments are God’s appointments.” Perhaps part of His purpose is to give us the opportunity to be an encouragement to others who experience similar situations. He calls us to be His Face, His Hands, His Ears, His Voice to each other. Let’s meet God in the unexpected.

Prayer: Lord, open my eyes to finding you in the unexpected. And by my words and actions, may others experience you.