"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way."
The last time we were in Africa, we asked Pastor Linus a question, "What types of things keep your people from coming to church?"
He seemed stunned by the inquiry and after a few minutes we had to explain to him why people don't attend church where we live.
We then learned that there are groups of people who travel over miles and miles to attend church, to gather and rejoice over King Jesus. We also learned that once while baptizing in a river, Pastor Linus had to have someone in the water with a stick to fend off the crocodiles.
There are times we don't go to church because it's raining.
Or we're tired.
Or we just don't want to.
I think we've forgotten what we're waiting for.
The biblical narrative of Christ's birth includes a specific journey by three men to come see Jesus. A journey. This wasn't a walk down the street. These men had a deep desire to come see the Christ. They had waited in anticipation for his birth - and now it was here.
Now the promise had come.
And He will come again.
Our lives are often so busy we rarely stop to consider our future. When we do consider it, it's often filled with fear and trepidation hammered into us by the media. If it's not that, we fill our lives to the brim with activities, people, and binge sessions on Netflix. Rarely do we take the time to remember what we are waiting on, or what we have to look forward to.
The promise that has come, will come again.
God sent Jesus to earth, to live a spotlessly clean life that we cannot live. To die a horrific death that we deserve. To rise from the dead so that sin and death are defeated and we have nothing to fear.
King Jesus will return.
That is what we should be waiting for.
Our waiting should be full of eager anticipation, fervent mission, joy and excitement.
Our King is coming again. This time to stay.
On this final advent week as Christmas approaches, take some time to think about what you're waiting for.
Think about what your waiting looks like.
Think about what that moment will be for you when King Jesus returns.
It will happen, you can be sure of that, because God promised it would.
And He always keeps his promises.