When I was younger, I did not like the anticipation of things. I always wanted to know what was, or what was coming, or for something to just be a reality. For whatever reason, I just didn't care for the build up. For example, as a child I would often search for (and find) Christmas presents before Christmas. As a teen I was diligent to figure out any kind of secret or surprise being kept from me before I was told so I could smugly profess that I already knew or had figured it out. And as an adult I wanted to find out the sex of all three of our children as soon as possible before their birth. It's something that's stuck with me most of my life.
But in the last few years, I've noticed how that attitude and demeanor has changed within. I no longer take the time to even look or consider what presents might await. And while I might still give it a second (or third) thought, I don't get fixated on uncovering the secret or surprise before it's time to be revealed. I've become more content to enjoy and savor the blessing of the moment as they are, all while anticipating what God will next bring into my life.
And then more recently, these last few months, I've enjoyed a season of richness and blessing in my walk with the Lord through His active presence in my life, simply because I've been more intentional about making a prominent space available for Him to dwell and interact with me. It's become something I not only look forward to, but also something that I miss if there's any kind of interruption to that time and space. And it's helped me to become much more aware of the every day...in several cases the every hour, and in some cases the every moment...movement of the Spirit in my life. That awareness has even helped me be much more attentive and responsive to that movement.
The last few days, I've spent time reflecting on Psalm 88. It's a unique psalm in that there's no direct avenue or mention of praise. Most, if not all, other psalms that contain laments either begin or end with this expression of praise for who God is, what He has done, or confidence in what He will do. But Psalm 88 contains only this raw pain, this authentic struggle with the conditions the writer is facing, and these questions of desperation...and no real feeling of hope or belief that things are going to change or get better. And as I consider this psalm in light of the current Christmas Season, I can't help but wonder if that is something akin to what the nation of Israel was facing as they awaited the coming of the Messiah, their Savior, their Redeemer. And I wonder how much of that hope and anticipation of what God was going to do, of the promise He had made, was lost on them in their daily lives...and how likely that it even attributed to so many completely missing what was right before them and so plain to see.
Regardless of how society and industry might try to hijack this season, it can always serve as a time to reflect on and embrace the hope of what has already been given - the Messiah to us as a child and a cleansing sacrifice for our sin stained lives - and the anticipation of what awaits us in heaven with Him. And this hope is what leads us to live in peace and joy, because we know the truth, and to respond in love, glorifying God, for all that He has done for us. May the blessings of this season of hope, peace, joy, and love fill your life and overflow in abundance to all who God gives you the opportunity to engage.
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.