Yesterday, even before the tragedy in Connecticut, I had begun to wonder whatever happened to anticipation? It used to be that the month leading up to Christmas, the Advent season, was celebrated the expectation of a Savior. Many individuals and many churches continue to celebrate Advent, though unfortunately, this seems to be a tradition disappearing from more evangelical churches. Even those who continue to celebrate have sometimes muddled it. We have lost our sense of anticipation. We are not a people accustomed to waiting, to longing.
We now have an immediate fix for every want. Two hundred years ago, one might wait months to hear a good word from someone and so words were chosen with care. They may go years, even decades, without seeing one another. This absence created a longing for reunion. Now, we have smart phones, Facebook, and email for immediate, constant connection. This immediacy has brought with it an unfortunate deadening of our affections for one another. Words are written carelessly, the sense of longing is absent.
Think too about movies. I remember as a child the anticipation of the holiday season. We would plan out our schedules with the chance to watch Charlie Brown's Christmas or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Now, movies are available on demand. We can watch whatever we want, whenever we want it and so they become less exciting.
We can get whatever food we want whenever we want it. We can access any sexual predilection on the Internet at the click of a mouse. Thanks to websites like Amazon, we can obtain nearly any good we would like. And so we have no sense of eager waiting for God's good gifts.
The Jews of Old understood the anticipation of the Savior. From the time of the fall, from the time of the exodus, from the time of King David, from the time of the prophets, from the time of the silent years, they longed for a Savior. After the fall, the world existed in a state of sin. No man made religion, no ritualistic rule keeping, no moral self improvement, no self-esteem programs, nothing could deliver the world from the sin that pervades every corner. And so they waited for the Promised One.
Two thousand years ago, that promise was fulfilled. Jesus Christ came to earth, born of a virgin, so that he could do what nothing or no one else could. He came to cleanse the world from the expansiveness of sin. No doubt, the people of Connecticut are longing for deliverance. Every day, in every corner of the world, people long for release from suffering. The answer to the pain wrought by sin is the Savior, the suffering Savior, who bore the sins of the whole world that whoever believes in him will be delivered.
During this season, take time to step back from the constant distractions and immediate fixes and ask God to return to you a sense of anticipation of the only true Deliverer