On Christmas Day we celebrate the arrival of the long-awaited one, the one promised to the people of Israel, the Messiah. His name is Jesus, and he is the Son of God, our savior.
It is interesting to see who the people were who recognized the Messiah when he came. The ones who welcomed him were the ones who awaited him expectantly, in faith, in hope, in joy. People like Mary, the first of the believers, always disposed to the will of God. “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary’s faith in God had always led her to trust in God, a characteristic noted by her cousin, Elizabeth: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45). Her faith and hope gave rise to joy. “… My spirit rejoices in God my savior …. The mighty one has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:47, 49).
There was also Simeon, a righteous and devout man, who awaited “the consolation of Israel …. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord” (Luke 2:25, 26). And so Simeon waited. His waiting paid off. His hope was realized.
And there was the prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, “advanced in years,” who “never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer” (Luke 2:36, 37). This lady really waited! And the Lord rewarded her for waiting! She was so overjoyed that she gave thanks to God and spoke about this child “to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
The spiritual writer, Jesuit Father Peter van Breemen, says that the essence of prayer is not our searching for God, but rather our “waiting” for God. We cannot force God. God will come, in his own way, in his own time. But it is important for us to “wait” for him, as Anna, Simeon, and Mary did, living holy lives “as we wait the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
God came to those who waited. God comes to those who await him. God will come again to those who are ready and waiting.
May we be among those blessed people, this Christmas Day in the year of our Lord, 2001, and always!
A blessed Christmas to all!