Meditations on the Meaning of Christmas

Devotional

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

The thing about waiting is that most of us are okay to wait for a reasonable amount of time. We can wait a few moments in line for coffee, or a few minutes going through a drive-through. We wait for test results and we wait for our food to come out at a restaurant. We wait for surgeries. As teenagers, waiting until the legal age to drive can feel like a lifetime. Parents wait nine months for the birth of a child, a little more, or a little less. You see, how long we are willing to wait is often proportional to what we are waiting for. If you had to wait nine months for a cup of coffee, would you do it? (Some of us shouldn’t answer that.) If your life depended on waiting for a heart surgery that would take 12 months, would you do it? If it was your only hope, you’d have to, you’d have no other choice.

Genesis 3 is a shift towards hopelessness from the vast array of God’s beauty and creativity on display establishing the heavens and the earth in the first two chapters. Sometime after resting on the seventh day we are introduced to the great antagonist of God’s plan of redemption, Satan, in serpent form. God’s command to Adam and Eve to not eat fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil would soon be broken.

In verse 14 God reveals his punishment and consequences for the serpent, Eve, and Adam. Life was now marked by physical separation from their Creator, and filled with pain, sorrow, and death. The fall of mankind forever changed the course of history, but it was not outside the great redemptive plan of God. To the serpent God said,  

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, ESV) 

And so in the hopelessness of sin, all hope is not lost. A time of waiting begins here. For hundreds of years God’s people wait in anticipation for the fulfillment of this distant hope, when they no longer need to say, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” because Jesus had in fact come.  

Reflect

  • Are you good at waiting?
  • What’s the longest you’ve ever had to wait for something?
  • Pray that God would prepare your heart to anticipate the birth of Christ this Christmas season.