Waiting at Christmastime

Confession: Christy Nockel’s Thrill of Hope Christmas album has been on repeat in my car since the beginning of November. The Advent Hymn, specifically, resonates with my heart in a time of waiting.

Christ whose glory fills the skies

Christ the everlasting light

The sum of righteousness arise

And triumph o’re these shades of night

Come thou long awaited one

In the fullness of your love

And loose this heart bound up by shame

And I will never be the same

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul’s longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

Dark and cheerless is the morn

Until your love in me is born

And joyless is the evening song

Until Emmanuel has come

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul’s longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul’s longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

I imagine the shepherds singing this type of song with baited breath night after night into the early morning hours aching for the Christ to be born. He would be King, the one they had waited fortheir soul’s longing.

Advent is a time of waiting. It is the period prior to Christmas in which we anticipate Christ’s birth. We are given the opportunity to look at the works of God in the Old Testament and reflect upon the prophecies that heralded a coming Christ.

The book of Isaiah is filled with these hope-filled forcasts, chapter 7, verse 14 promised, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah foretold this 700 years prior to Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem.

I, too, am like the shepherds, with a heart song echoing lyrics similar to those above. I have hopes and dreams unfulfilled and know I am not alone. I know other single gals who desire marriage, wives fighting for their marriage, the happily married wondering if they will ever become mothers, and mothers who have lost children. I have prayed for mothers anxious for their children to return to the Lord after stepping away from their childhood faith, women battling sickness, and those who can’t see the way out of their addiction. These friends are asking ‘Dayspring from high be near’ as they wait for families, for reconciliation, for healing.

Waiting is bittersweet, and sometimes painful. And just because we wait doesn’t always mean God gives us our expectant hearts’ desire. But,“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18. I have found to be true, waiting or not, God’s desires always triumph over mine. He knows what is best for me. He is seeking and pursuing my heart. Always.

As the shepherds watched the evening sky for a great light (see Isaiah 9:2), God spoke to their hearts. He spoke of Hope, and encouraged them to hold to that Hope, no matter what. We learn in periods of waiting. If you find yourself identifying with my own feelings of anticipation this Christmas season, I want to encourage you. We can expect God to meet us in our time of waiting with comfort and peace. We can call on Him, and He will answer us, even if the future seems perilous, frightful, or tiring.

Let us not give up, but press into God’s goodness and faithfulness when answers are nowhere to be found. Let us give our longings over to God and let Him work out all the anxiety-inducing details. Let us replace our fear with trust. May we declare this Christmas anthem as our own, and bellow loudly over any untruth lingering in our heart and mind:

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul’s longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

~~~

Readers, I will prayerfully join you in this time of waiting. I will ask God to be gentle with your heart and give you a renewed sense of Hope this Christmas season. Tell us how can we pray for you?

0752d-sarah2bsquareSarah believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog, and you can find her stories for Anchored Voices under the tag Sarah.

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