Back in the olden days, when Daddies used to have to wait and pace in a hospital waiting room as a newborn was arriving, the following took place. There were three men waiting for the joyous news and they were anxious. The first man was informed by the nurse that he had just had twins. He said to the nurse, “ Isn’t that ironic, I pitch for the Minnesota Twins.”
A few minutes later the next man was informed by the nurse that his wife had just given birth to triplets. He too exclaimed, “What a coincidence I work at the 3-M company!”
The third man panicked and raced for the door. The nurse said, “You can’t leave yet, your wife is still in delivery. What is the matter!?!”
He replied, “I work for a 7-Eleven store and I’m getting out of here!”
Nothing can compare to the excitement, anxiety, and tension of waiting for a baby to arrive. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent to be, a friend, a relative, or a casual bystander, everyone gets drawn into the event.
We are entering a time of year when we are waiting for a baby to arrive. It has snuck up on many of us and the expectation of the celebration of this arrival is beginning to stress some of us out. That is one of the things we face as we move toward the celebration of Christmas, the fact is that there is a baby coming!
For a few moments let’s examine this idea of expecting or expectancy. Let’s use as our basis Micah 5:2-5.
If you are not aware of it yet, there is an expectancy that happens at the time of year that is unlike any other time. As we examine expectancy, I hope that as you read you will discover some gentle reminders as you move into the Christmas season.
First remember that expectancy grows out of a combination of memory and belief. In verse 2 we read, “But you Bethlehem Efratha, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old and ancient times.”
When you and I remember the good things that have happened in the past and keep believing the One who made them happen is still at work in our lives today, we discover hope. That is important. In the passage it is suggested that Israel look back to Bethlehem for the coming Messiah because the great King David had come from there to rescue them in the past. The same God was going to send them a rescuer from there again.
Have you ever been in the midst of a crisis and thought that you just wouldn’t make it through, but you did? You must hang on to those memories because they will help you as you struggle through moments that aren’t so comfortable in life. God always takes care of us, He promised He would, that should give us hope. Those kinds of memories should generate a sense of expectancy in your life about what God has done and what He is doing.
Second, I want you to see that expectancy gives people the ability to keep on trying. In verses 4-5 we read, “He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth, and He will be their peace.”
The belief that something is happening that will make things better gives us something to hold onto. The prophet here is giving Israel the hope and expectancy of the coming Messiah. That will help carry them, as history teaches us, through years of exile, pain, and suffering.
An expectant mommy will put up with months of sickness and not feeling so hot because of the baby that will one day arrive. The rotten part of pregnancy comes to an end. When any of us experience crisis, we can keep pressing on and trying because God’s Word reminds us that there is an end in sight.
In the book Legacies, Betty Bao Lord tells of a Chinese businessman who was imprisoned in his own office for years during the persecutions of China’s great cultural revolution. He was able to survive and press on because every day he would look out of the slits in the boards that had been nailed over his window and could see a little kite flying in the distance.
Just prior to his imprisonment he had taught his young son how to fly the kite. Everyday at the same time he could see that kite flying in the air. That reminded him that he was not forgotten and it helped him hang on. He knew that even while he was in prison, there was someone out there who cared about him and was waiting for him.
As you move into this Christmas season, remember that there is a God who loves you enough to tell you that He has never forgotten about you and knows just what you need.
We needed a Savior, He sent His Son. That memory should keep us stable and pressing on. That reality should give us hope, not just for the holidays, but for everyday.