Sitting in Church this Sunday brought a wave of emotion. Singing the song, “In Christ Alone,” began to speak to me. As I sang the last verse I couldn’t hold in the emotion that was overcoming me. Sandi and I have recently experienced great joy and sorrow. We welcomed the birth of our son, Elam in to the world. During the same week, just a few days later we received the phone call that one of Sandi’s aunt’s that she is named after passed away. The final verse speaks, “from life’s first cry to final breath.” I couldn’t help but think about how God came down and experienced both of those events. He knows the joy of new life. He also knows the pain and sorrow of death.
This Christmas has given me time to think, reflect and pause for a moment. I have been letting Christmas speak to me. More realistically I have been letting God speak to me through his word and worship at my local church during this advent season. So what have I been learning?
It began with the reading of Isaiah 9, then continued in Luke 2. Both are familiar passages to me. I hear them read every year several times and several places. So sometimes I get calloused to the word. For some reason God broke through this year and revealed several new insights to me. The first is that during the time of Jesus, the Jews were expecting the coming of Jesus. Yet when he arrived it was the gentiles and the lowly shepherds who came to worship him. Okay, nothing particularly new there. What struck me was that we are in a place of expectation. I began to reflect on how I don’t really wait in expectation of the second coming of Christ. But what can I do?
The second insight came as I listened to my pastor exposit Luke 2. Our culture celebrates the birth of Jesus, but forgets that his purpose in coming to earth was to die on a cross for the sins of the world! God loved us enough to come to earth but he also loved us enough to take on the punishment we deserve by dieing on the cross. Thank you God!
As I sat in Church on Sunday the final piece came together as I heard the words of Titus 2:11-15
11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
I reflected on how the night before I got frustrated with my wife because I wasn’t winning a game. I didn’t treat her with respect. The words of Titus tell us to say no to the selfishness I had displayed the night before and bring glory to God by obeying him while we wait. While we wait struck me again. What can I do while I wait? There was the answer. Obey him and teach them to others. Let others know about the vast love of God that was demonstrated in Christmas and Easter.
What are you doing while you wait?