Wait. Hold up. Halt. Almost there. Slow down. Patience. Just a little bit longer.
What comes to mind when you hear these words? Most likely feelings of frustration, anxiety, confusion, sadness, annoyance, or even anger. Think about how you respond to the gridlock of waiting. What are you longing for?
We can all relate to waiting for something—a job, an acceptance letter, for the traffic to clear, a relationship, to be a parent, or for a wayward child to come home. It could be for a break from the busyness of life, direction, hope in the midst of suffering, or any other thing. We all know what it means to live in anticipation.
The Scriptures exhort us to wait upon the Lord over and over again. Psalm 27:13–14 says, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” And yet, it can be extremely difficult to wait. We want things now—instant gratification. So many modern conveniences allow us to get things when we want them. The space in between hoping for something and obtaining it makes us uncomfortable. It produces fear—will we ever get what we want? When we feel that God is tarrying, we are tempted to take control and try to make things happen on our own without God’s guidance and power.
Advent is a season that teaches us how to wait with joy and expectancy. What we learn in this time, we can apply to all our waiting moments throughout the year. How do we wait well and believe that He is faithful even in a standstill? This Advent season, we will study prophecies about Christ, prophecies about the future, and how the gifts of God and the Holy Spirit help us experience peace, healing, freedom, and hope while we wait. Our prayer is that these truths will remind you of God’s faithfulness and encourage you to trust him in any and every situation, even in a holding period.
The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “visit.” In this Advent season, we long for the coming of Christ. It gives us a chance to stop and remember how generation after generation of Israelites anticipated Christ’s birth. Imagine the uncertainty, the doubt they must have felt at times. But God was not silent in the years before Christ; He gave the Israelites prophecies of Christ’s coming. Advent and the prophecies of Christ show us that even in the midst of our waiting, God is near. He hears us, He sees us, and He cares. Galatians 4:4 says, “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son.” At just the right moment in time, God sent Jesus to the earth. His timing is perfect. As we hope for Christ’s return, we can rest in this truth.
Since God did not want His people to miss the coming of the Savior, He gave them insight into what He would look like and what He would do. In the same way, God reminds us of His character and truth in the middle of our own waiting. He is faithful to fulfill His promises.
Prophecy means prediction. Throughout the Old Testament, God appointed many prophets to be His representatives by speaking God’s truth. The prophets were God’s mouthpiece. These prophets spoke about Christ’s coming, gave warnings about the consequences of disobedience, offered encouragement, gave spiritual guidance, and called the Israelites to repent—to turn from their ways and follow God. Prophecies about Christ open our eyes to the fact that Jesus is the one, true Messiah, Savior of the world, and they show off God’s faithfulness.
For each week of this four-week study, we will focus on different gifts Jesus offers His people. The first week addresses Jesus’ blessing of peace. In week two, we’ll talk about Jesus’ blessing of healing. Week three covers Jesus’ blessing of freedom. And the fourth and final week focuses on Jesus’ blessing of hope. As we anticipate Jesus’ return, these gifts are available to us now.
Days 1–4 of each week will highlight either an Old Testament prophecy about Christ and its fulfillment in the New Testament, a prophecy of the future, or a Scripture related to the theme for the week. For day 5 of each week, we will reflect on the content of the week by studying a Scripture about waiting upon the Lord and His faithfulness.
We pray that you will meet Jesus in this season of Advent, and that you experience Him and know Him. We hope you are reminded of His love as the Savior of our lives—reminded that even in the waiting, He is near, He cares, and He is faithful. As we long for the fullness of our redemption upon Christ’s return, God gives us peace, healing, freedom, and hope in the here and now. Think of how Jesus has been faithful to you. When we worry about the future, we can miss what God is doing in the present. Look for how He is moving and working in your life and those around you. Ask God to give you eyes to see His presence and truth in every aspect of your life. Watch for Him. Anticipate his faithfulness. He is true to His word. We can trust Him. Let’s embrace waiting in hope this Advent season.