Who knows what kind of year we will have in 2024? It might be a more tumultuous year than we have had in many years, which is saying a lot since much has happened since 2020. I truly hope I am wrong. Either way, we must have the same waiting posture that Advent encourages as we wait for God in the new year.
It is striking how much the Bible talks about waiting on God. Two people were waiting for redemption for a great many years, Simeon and Anna: “ Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” (Luke 2:25) Luke also mentions a prophetess named Anna, who was 84 years old and had lived as a widow for most of her life. “She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:37-38)
One might assume since Christ has come and we have a fuller knowledge of Jesus than Simeon and Anna did, the waiting is over. The hymns we sang this season remind us the waiting is not over. In "Come thou long expected Jesus," the lyrics anticipate God’s eternal spirit leading us to his glorious throne.
Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.
In the Hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel," the lyrics express a longing for our heavenly home and asking for a safe path to the heavenly road. There is great anticipation for our eternal future.
O come, O Key of David, come and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road and bar the way to death's abode.
O come, desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease and be yourself our King of Peace.
What does scripture say? In 2 Peter, Peter states that the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and the works done will be exposed. Peter reminds us we ought to be the sort of people who live lives of holiness and godliness and, “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.” (2 Peter 3:12-14)
One of the reasons we may not have a waiting posture is because we live for this world and not the perfect world God has planned for us. Our waiting for him is one of diligence, an active waiting with hope of a much better, eternal, joyful, painless life. I pray this truth can keep us faithful and joyful in the coming year.