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Minister’s message: Christmas is a season for waiting
Tom Smiley
The Rev. Tom Smiley

If you were to attempt to describe Christmas using only one word, which word would you choose?

Certainly, words like family, peace, love, joy, gifts and celebration would come to mind.

One integral word that may not make the list of describing Christmas: wait.

You should know that the Christian celebration of Christmas has a lot to do with the word wait.

Each Christmas we celebrate the promise of a savior. The truth is, God’s people waited for centuries. They longed and prayed for rescue. And then, on the right day, in the right place, at the right time, Christ the Lord came into this world.

Galatians 4:4-7 tells us, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

The issue, however, is that we do not like to wait. Yet waiting is very much a part of our lives.

For instance, every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national transplant waiting list. Typically, the average wait time for a red light is one and half to two minutes. According to a Timex survey, Americans wait on average: 20 minutes a day for the bus or train, 32 minutes whenever they visit a doctor, 28 minutes in security lines whenever they travel and 13 hours annually waiting on hold for customer service.

Admit it, you hate to wait.

As we remember God’s promises of a savior and after centuries of waiting, the challenge of Christmas is to wait well.

I hope you will allow the birth of Christ to encourage you as you wait.

I am sure that many who knew of God’s promise of a savior were beginning to think God had forgotten them. Let me remind you that just because God has not come through (as far as you can see), it does not mean he has abandoned you. Every Christmas reminds us that God is always working, though circumstances may seem to say otherwise.

What are you waiting for?

Christmas shouts; “While God rarely comes at our appointed time, he always comes at the right time.” You can know this faithful God, by placing your faith in the beautiful gift of Jesus. You can learn to wait well as you learn to love, trust and honor Jesus.

Take hope in the manger and know that you are loved and prized by the God who stepped out of heaven into this world, put on flesh and took great pains to make a way for a relationship with you. Receive Jesus and experience the strength to wait well.

May I extend this Christmas prayer for you?

Father God, meet me in the waiting, the place where I long for what is not fully in view.

Still my heart and give me the ability to know that you are near.
I believe your plans are good. I see it in the birth of Jesus.
But sometimes I struggle to see beyond the haze that surrounds me.
Renew my confidence as I lift my eyes to you. Be glorified in my life during this season of expectation. Amen.

Be reminded of the words of Isaiah, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

Merry Christmas!

The Rev. Tom Smiley is the senior pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville. He can be reached at tsmiley@lakewoodlife.org.
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