I’ve always loved the worship that the Christmas season brings. There’s something special about the promises of God that seem closer, more palpable, and ready to come to life as we journey towards the birth of our King Jesus. For Shelley and me, it doesn’t get much better than decorating a freshly cut Christmas tree, spending time with family and close friends, and taking part in the traditions that weave joy and celebration throughout these wintery days.
As idealistic as that may sound, let’s be honest — Christmas, and consequently, the season of Advent — isn’t always the most peaceful time of year. In fact, you might quickly find yourself buried under the mountain of gifts, glitter, holiday parties, cookie swaps, and a whole host of unmet or underwhelmed expectations. That’s not even to mention that for many families, Christmas isn’t actually a season of celebration, but a stark reminder of painful memories, loss, and disappointment
If that’s you, I understand — Shelley and I have walked together through hard seasons. Ten years ago when I was writing an Advent devotional, Waiting Here for You, I felt the Lord encouraging me to write with a specific family in mind — a family that was going into the Christmas season under the diagnosis of cancer. So, I did… only to come to find out a few weeks later, right after Thanksgiving, that Shelley’s dad, who is a hero to me, was given a very serious cancer diagnosis. The words and devotions from Waiting Here for You became a lifeline for our family during that Advent season and in the many since that diagnosis.
Shelley’s dad fought valiantly against his cancer, but after a long fight, he went to Heaven earlier this year. So this will be our first Advent season without him, and to say it will be hard is a massive understatement. I share this because I want you to know that I understand that Advent isn’t always all bows and baking, even though all the current popular Christmas movies would try to make you believe it is.
- Yes, Advent can be a wonderful season of celebration. But it can also be full of confusion. Of desperate need. Of waiting for God to come through.
Whether your Advent this year bears the arrival of peace and joy or the arrival of sorrow and sadness,
Jesus is not only aware of your story — He’s with you in your gladness or your waiting. He never leaves you to navigate this season alone.
The word Advent means arrival — meant to reference the arrival of Jesus onto planet earth all those years ago. While this should give us confidence, the rush and crush of the Christmas season can convince us to think of Jesus’ arrival in that Bethlehem manager as just another act of history, old news. You might even find yourself thinking, “Jesus showed up then, and that’s all good and well, but I’m waiting on Him to show up now. To answer me. To prove that He cares today.”
I hear that. But here’s the great news that can change everything for you: Jesus’ arrival wasn’t just another day in history. It was the day in history. When Jesus arrived on earth, He emphatically pronounced that He wanted to have permanent proximity to you, and you to Him. He proved the promises of God to not only be true, but to be everlastingly possible through His life, death, and resurrection.
That’s why if you currently find yourself waiting on God, it’s not a waste of time. He is working while you wait because He is closer than you realize. You don’t have to hope that He will draw near to you. He’s already arrived. You don’t have to wonder if He cares for you. He came down from Heaven so that you would never again have to fear that He is uninvolved, uninformed, or unwilling to step into your story.
True, your tensions may not immediately evaporate. That diagnosis your loved one received might not improve tomorrow. Your heartache may not mend with a few carols or cups of eggnog. But here’s what you can take confidence in —
Jesus has arrived, He is with you today, and He is at work in your life. That’s why you can worship Him.
Just like Shelley’s father, there is a day coming for every Believer where we will arrive with Jesus. Where every waiting and every longing will be fulfilled immediately by His glorious grace and love. That wholeness and victory is a future reality in your story. But it may not be the headline for today.
Today, you may keep waiting on your earthly circumstances. But Jesus is waiting with you. And there are people all around you who need to know that there was a Baby, born in a messy manger a few thousand years ago, who has never failed and never faded. Who keeps every promise and stays steadfast in every situation. A Savior who knows what it means to be human, who draws near in every hardship, and who is working on your behalf in every way this Christmas Season.
Written for Faith.Gateway by Louie Giglio, author of Waiting Here for You.
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We invite you to join us for the Waiting Here for You Online Bible Study starting December 4th! It’s going to be a wonderful season of waiting in great hope! ~ Devotionals Daily