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I suspect many of our parents remember how often we asked the question. “How how long until Christmas”? I remember I could hardly wait for the gift!s!

How time change my perspective!

Now, even before we celebrated Thanksgiving, stores had transformed their shelves into a fantasy land for people of all ages. Today, I wonder how did we get to Christmas so fast?

In this Vincentian Mindwalk I explore what it meant to wait for the Messiah in the distant past… and Jesus coming now.

 “The promised one”

Jewish people believed in the “promised one”.

For centuries they suffered as slaves under a series of foreign tyrants.

We read in the Old Testament, in Isaiah 9:6-7, almost 800 years before Christ was born, that God had spoken through the prophets promising a day when a Messiah, a Savior would come to deliver His people. 

”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

Wouldn’t we hope?

Who could blame them for continually asking when this Messiah will come? They placed all their trust in this promise.

They were the Olympic champions of keeping hope alive for all those centuries.

Waiting for the Promised

They placed all their trust in this promise. The promise kept hope alive during enormous suffering.

Century after century, generation after generation, they kept hoping. But there was no sign of their Messiah.

Jewish people responded to this delayed coming of the Messiah in different ways.

Why was there a delay? How did they react to the delay?

Some quit waiting and began to live for the world, putting away all hope that the Messiah would ever come.

Others took it into their own hands, as we see in scripture, in effect, claiming to be the Savior themselves (Acts 5:36-37).

The Messiah they expected and the one who came

When the Messiah came, he did not come the way they had expected.

They expected a triumphant ruler to take possession. He would wipe away every tear and all would instantly recognize that they were the “Chosen” people.

When he came, he taught them to pray OUR Father … and … treat everyone as a sister or brother, love even your enemies … as God had loved them even when they wandered.

This was too much for those who had fixed ideas based on what the rulers and institutions of the day looked like. “We have always done it this way!”

Others settled into comfortable religious routines in the midst of their routine lives.

Yet others were Zealots, like Simon before Jesus called him to follow him, extremists. They were ready to do battle with all who thought differently than they did.

It is interesting that Jesus included all among those he called.

Mirrors of waiting in the church today

Some claim Christ with their mouths but, practically speaking, live for the things of this present world.

Others are tired of waiting on the Lord. Caught up in the values they see around them, they seek to build their lives

A third group lives faithfully, waiting on Christ´s return, and living with their eyes fixed on eternity. 

Can you identify how you are waiting for Jesus to come into your life today?

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