The Long Awaited Suddenly

By Chris Baxter

When thinking of the age-old Christmas story, one of the most familiar portions of Scripture is when the angel greets the shepherds in the darkness of the night. This passage is read so repeatedly each year that the event becomes a common scene in our minds. But goodness, how uncommon this real-life event must have been! First, one angel, then, a host of angels suddenly appeared, proclaiming the promise that had been held behind a divinely closed curtain for thousands of years. Yes, the wait of the great reveal had been put on sovereign hold since Adam and Eve's exit from the garden.

God's people suffered much, but they held onto the hope of their future Messiah. Here is only one of the many promises:

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them...For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest of His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:2,6)

This particular promise came 700 years before the fulfillment of it. Here is a challenge for you and for me: at some time in the busyness of this celebratory holiday, let's take 7 uninterrupted minutes to sit quietly and...wait. Might I suggest to wait in the darkness of a silent night? While waiting, add faith, add hope, add love. His promise is for you too.

And now...join the shepherds. Put yourself there on the hillside with them:

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them...and said, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:9-14)

The long awaited suddenly happened. Jesus, the anticipated Promise, appeared. 

He is the only valid answer to this sometimes weary, sometimes confusing, sometimes sorrowful life. In Christ, you never have to wait without hope.

Good news, He is the answer to eternal life as well. One more time, there will be another long awaited suddenly. In the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet…we will be changed (1 Cor. 15:52).  

Until then and while waiting, take time to see His glory in the quietness of your Silent Night.

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And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.  Acts 2:2-4

Dear Lord,

Your Spirit among believers is powerful and invasive! Use us to speak your name to those who do not know you. Thank you for your filling; may we now be poured out. Amen.