Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
|Photo by Godric Godricson |
Advent. A time of eager and joyful expectation. Right?
But not then. Not for them.
They were weary. Living under the ungodly, oppressive government of Rome and the greedy, bloodthirsty rule of the Tetrarchs, they were over-taxed, over-burdened, abused, and frightened.
Religion was no help. If anything, the merciless legalism of the times made things worse.
And they’d been waiting a long time.
Waiting for an end to their suffering.
They’d heard of a deliverer, but where was He? Where was this promised Messiah? Where was God?
I’ve heard that Mary was the most common name for girls at the time. We do see several in the Gospels, so it could be true.
The name means Bitter.
Weary of waiting. Desperately waiting. Waiting for release from the bitterness of life. It seems they’d lost hope.
We’ve all been there. When one wait ends, another begins.
Life is waiting.
We wait for a son to return home to those he’s turned his back on.
For a loved one to know the Lord.
For a friend to be healed.
A child or spouse to come home from war.
A job—financial security.
A restored relationship.
A healed marriage.
For someone to abandon an addiction.
An e-mail from an agent.
Confirmation that we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing.
Always waiting and we are weary. We are desperate. Desperate for hope. For God to step in and show Himself.
Two thousand years ago God took on strands of DNA and became a tiny human in the womb of a girl named Bitter.
And His name was Emmanuel. God with us.
God stepped into the weary desperation.
He didn’t remove their suffering. Rome still ruled. The religious leaders were still unforgiving. Life was still hard.
He didn’t come to relieve their suffering. He came to walk with them in the midst of it.
We need not grow weary in the waiting because He’s here. We’re not waiting for Him to show up. He’s already here—inside us.
And those things we want, those things we watch for, they are good things, but the best thing, the best thing is God With Us.
I’ve looked back into my waiting and seen where God has been. Right there in the moments when it seems I’d lost hope. If God offered to answer all my prayers, solve all my problems right now, I wouldn’t do it if it meant losing those glimpses of His love.
Look deeply into your waiting and see Him. See where He’s been and how He’s touched you. Together let’s remember, no matter how discouraging or bitter life gets, let’s remember Emmanuel.