The Season Of Advent // Turn Your Eyes To Jesus

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading

Devotional

What You Are Waiting For This Christmas

I know this time of year can feel heavy.  Heavy with expectation—expectations for spending time with people, expectations for community, expectations for getting along with one another. Extra pressure to get things right. There is a push to decorate the right way, fill your home with the right smells. But can I relieve you of this pressure? Can I tell you a little about Advent and about expectation, and about waiting? 

There is a waiting in your heart that is deeper than what you know. A waiting that is pure, good. 

Slow now. There is no rush. You have been waiting all your life, and you have not even known it. 

You wait for hope to be satisfied, for dreams to be realized. You wait for life to be easier, for time to be shorter. You wait for money to be more abundant, and friends to be more plentiful. You wait for health to be stronger, and experiences to be richer. You wait.

But there are things you have given up on waiting for too. A mind to be stronger, a life to be richer, a heart to be gentler, a soul to be braver. You wait to experience beauty, or you have given up on it entirely. You wait to experience freedom—freedom from worry, from fear, from anxiety, from regret. You wait for love to lead, to grant you hope in the areas of your life where you have felt hollow, depleted, not seen.

You forget what waiting is, what it has always been. You forget how the true you, more than anything else, is made to wait on Me. You are made to wait on the arrival of hope, a life turned over, surrendered. Oh, son, daughter, I am here. 

You forget you are paid for with a price. The cost of your life was one I would pay again and again. You forget I wait for you. I have always waited for you. I will never stop waiting for you. But the waiting you do for other things other than Me is what steals your joy, steals your heart—your soul away from Me. 

I have waited for you—and I continue to wait—but I ask you to wait on Me now. And your waiting is not for nothing. It is for the Kingdom where you are yourself, the Kingdom where all is restored. Do you want that now? Do you want to walk in freedom and light and hope now? For in your waiting on Me, remember this: I have come. I have been waiting for you, and I have come for you too. 

Advent is the time of waiting for what is already here, Who has already come. It is a time of turning—turning inward to study your heart. Turning inward to listen for my voice. Turning inward to heed what is true. Advent is for emptying oneself to receive joy in abundance. 

A heart grows heavy with waiting. But your hope is not deferred. Your life is not deferred. Your strength and light and joy are not deferred. For love has not been held back from you. Life is here. Your King has come. Look to Him now. Study His face, His eyes, His voice. Wait and receive what is yours, what I have designed you to crave more than anything else. Here, here as you wait and you receive, let your soul be satisfied. 

I am right here.

Exercise:

Advent marks the season of turning, of leaning our hearts and minds and souls toward the celebration of Jesus’ birth. This time is for appreciating and rejoicing in the Savior who has come—and for noticing our longing for the Savior who is still to come. 

The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” Our hearts wait for Jesus’ coming again—while we also celebrate his first coming, his birth more than 2000 years ago. The old hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” well represents our heart’s cry during the Advent season:

O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appears.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

The song expresses our desire for Jesus to come again. To come and rescue us. But when we sing this song, we sing it to Emmanuel—a Hebrew name for God, which means “God with us.” We sing to a God who has already come, who is here with us, right now. But, at the same time, we sing about how we’re waiting and wanting Him to come again.

Jesus came! He came for you. And He is coming again.

Now, when you think about the word waiting, what do you think of? When you picture someone who is waiting, what comes to mind? Someone who is standing still, passive and frustrated? 

Well, the kind of waiting we do, when what we’re waiting for, truly, is Jesus–it isn’t passive. And it isn’t frustrating. Far from it. It’s active, and it’s exciting. When what we’re waiting for, truly, is Jesus, then we, very naturally, become filled with joy and peace and hope. Because we are filled with Him. Remember, though we wait, He is already here. In us.

So, the question is . . . What, exactly, are you waiting for? What are you hoping for? Right now, what dream do you most want fulfilled?

Holy Spirit said “You forget what waiting is, what it has always been. You forget how the true you, more than anything else, is made to wait on Me. You are made to wait on the arrival of hope, a life turned over, surrendered. Oh, son, daughter, I am here.”

If Advent is the time of waiting—”of waiting for what is already here, Who has already come,” let’s do that now, as the music plays. Let’s spend a few moments together turning inward to listen to what Jesus has to say to our hearts. Let’s sit in this space. Let’s occupy this space together, waiting on Jesus. Let’s think of His goodness in our lives, His promises, His hope.

This is what Advent is all about . . . turning our hearts to Him.

Jesus, you tell me that my heart grows heavy with waiting, but that my hope is not deferred. You say Your life is in me now. You promise that Your strength and light and joy are in me. Because love is not held back. Love is here. Life is here. My King is here. So I look to You now. Help me to see You, hear Your voice. Help me to wait and receive what is mine, what You have designed me to crave more than anything else. And as I wait for You, let my soul be satisfied with You and be at peace.

Amen.