Advent has begun – a period of waiting. During this season, we reenact that period when Israel waited in the dark, anticipating their Messiah’s arrival. “When will it be?” “I can hardly wait!” “Come, Messiah, come!” were the prayers on every faithful heart.
Will it be? Waiting is hard and it is so easy to doubt. How can we know He will come? In this extended time of waiting, some might have said, “My grandfather prayed to his dying day, but never saw the Messiah come,” or, “My mother still prays, I still pray, and nothing happens. Will He come? Can I trust a God who takes so long?”
Of course we know the answer. Two thousand Christmases later, there’s no question about the arrival of the Christ Child. We know the story and quote the passages by heart.
For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light of revelation to the gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel (Luke 2:30-33).
We know God keeps His promises. The Bible tells us so. And that fact links our Bible reading to our prayers. God’s Word is a testimony to His faithfulness to fulfill His plan for the good of His people. We cultivate the habit of Bible reading so we can learn to see God at work. These things happened to them as an example, and they are written for our instruction (Romans 10:11).
The truth of Scripture puts God’s faithfulness on display. As we read how he faithfully keeps His promises, even over long periods of time, we learn to trust Him to do the same in our lives. Then, as He faithfully answers our prayers, we enter into the story of His unending faithfulness.
As God answers our prayers and His Word works in our lives, we join the chorus of faithful witnesses who testify of His faithfulness. We join our voice of praise with Anna, who began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). With Simeon we learn to release our deepest joys into the hands of our faithful Shepherd. Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word, for my eyes have seen Your salvation (Luke 2:29).
Our annual celebration of Christmas teaches us that the God who was faithful in the past will be faithful in the future. Although He doesn’t say, “Yes,” to all of our prayers, He always meets all our needs. All those centuries Israel waited for the Babe in Bethlehem remind us that, though God’s timetable is long, His promises never fail. God shows us His faithfulness in Scripture, so we can see it in our lives.
As you live each day, celebrate how He has cared for you in the past, and trust Him to care for you in the future. As you pray, remember: the God who kept His promises to Israel is certain to keep His promises to you.
Great is His faithfulness!