In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
On the day that I’m writing this I’m waiting in for a delivery. I’m afraid I can’t tell you what it is I’m waiting for because I don’t want to take the risk of my children reading it and the surprise being spoilt!
Helpfully the delivery company has given me a 13-hour window during which they may arrive, so it could be a long day. At 7am while it was still dark I was ready for the doorbell to ring and intercept the parcel before any of the children could get there, but it will probably be that at 8pm tonight when it is dark again the delivery will finally arrive.
I find this all very frustrating especially given that I am one of the most impatient people on the planet! I’ve never been able to wait for anything and get incredibly restless and irritable when I do. But it will be worth the wait because I know that when my children finally get to see what’s in the parcel there will be shrieks of delight and much joy all around! You see it’s something they have been hoping for for quite a long time, and they’ve never given up hope that one day it might be theirs.
In our reading today we are reminded that two thousand years ago, the birth of a baby was seen as the fulfillment of a promise that the people of God had waited a very long time for, but for which they had never given up hope. Their longing was for the coming of a King, a Saviour, God’s ‘Anointed One’, and they were excited about His coming because they knew that when He came He would start to put right all that was wrong with the world. Their waiting went on for many hundreds of years, but they never gave up hope because they knew that the One who had made the promise was faithful and could be trusted.
As I look back over the many years that I have been following Jesus, I can see many occasions when I have felt with great certainty that God has shown me something that is going to happen in the future, but like the delivery company I’m waiting in for today, the timing has never been clear! All I can do is wait and trust knowing that God is faithful and that He will deliver what He has promised.
Revd Simon Allaby
Simon lives in Sussex with his wife Sarah, and they have three children, a dog and a cat! Ordained in 1990 Simon has led churches in a variety of different contexts. In 2009 he became the founder and director of the 6:19 Trust, a role which he combines with leadership of Bolney Village Chapel.
Simon has spoken and ministered across the world. He is a recommended speaker for Christian Vision for Men, and regularly writes and records 60 second ‘Godspots’ for broadcast on UCB and Branch FM Christian radio. He is also an Associate Evangelist of JJohn’s Philo Trust.
Perhaps you know someone today who is waiting, and for whom the wait seems endless. Maybe they are waiting for the birth of a child, or for the results of tests, of a date for an operation; perhaps they are hoping to hear from a friend or relative with whom there has been a breakdown in relationship; perhaps news about a new job or other change in circumstances. What can you do today to encourage them in their waiting? Why not write a card, or buy some flowers, or just drop by for a coffee?