Are You Still Waiting?

004-shepherds-angels.jpgMy favorite part of Jesus’ birth story is the shepherds. I imagine them under a starlit sky. Some guard their sheep from predators. Others nap until their watch shift, the only sound the occasional bleating of a lamb. And then comes a blinding white light! An angel of the Lord appears.

    The bible says the shepherds were terrified. Who wouldn’t be?

Do not be afraid,” the angel says. “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the sky opens up. A host of angels praise God:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Wow! Wouldn’t you want to be there?

static1.squarespace.jpgThe shepherds never questioned the angel. They knew exactly what it meant. The Messiah had come. In that age before newspapers, radio, television, social media, it took more than a thousand years for the news of the Messiah to spread until everyone heard. The bible says the news spread through many generations: fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. The news trickled down from prophets who passed it to the people. Then, finally, God chose the lowly shepherds in the dead of night as the first to know that the prophesy was fulfilled—the Messiah had come. The long wait was over.

The lesson here is that God makes His people wait until His time is precisely right. What to humans was generations of waiting, to God was a blink of His eye, an appointed time in His master plan. We forget this. We want God to act instantly. We forget that part of His character is making people wait. His timing and ours is not the same.

jesus-second-comingWe count the days to Christmas, the day when we celebrate Christ’s birth, but we also wait for the day when He returns. Maybe our generation will be like the shepherds that night. Maybe we will be blessed to see Him come. If not, then surely our ancestors will be surprised like the shepherds. When they least expect it they will see Jesus coming in the sky to take them home—forever. And how glorious that will be!

Please remember this Christmas that the miracle of Christ is not over. We wait for our Messiah to come again–in God’s time–in His perfect time.

Glory! Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests.

God bless all of you, my readers,
At Christmastime
And always!

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Thoughts on the Fifteenth Anniversary of 9-11

244959Each year on Pearl Harbor Day, my mom and dad remembered out loud where they had been and recalled the events of that terrible day. I understood the facts. Still, I couldn’t share with my parents their feelings—the gut-wrenching grief, anger, and surprise that changed America on December 7, 1941. I wasn’t alive then. It would be sixty years before I could fully comprehend the deep emotions connected with Pearl Harbor.

This Sunday marks the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, my generation’s Pearl Harbor. I had watched it unfold on television, detail by frightening detail. The crooked imprint of Flight 11 where it smashed into the World Trade Center North Tower. Flames leaping out from the building’s glass and steel frame red hot against the bright, blue sky. Flight 175 slamming into the South Tower. Men and women jumping from windows, gravity pulling them swiftly down through the billowing black smoke to the concrete below. The Pentagon hit by Flight 77. South World Trade disintegrating into a pile of rubble. White dust racing through the corridors of Manhattan. Thousands running for their lives. World Trade North tumbling down. Rumors flying. Utter chaos . . .

1wtc_eveningviewfromwhotel_mediumFifteen years later, we again find ourselves observing Patriot Day, a resolution signed into law by then President George W. Bush to honor the memory of the 2,977 people killed in the September 11 attacks.

Today, those in their late teens and early twenties are too young to remember the events of 911 with any clarity. The oldest of those born since September 11, 2001 are high school sophomores today. This is the post-911 generation. Their America is different from the one I knew prior to that fateful day, and so very different from the America my parents knew before Pearl Harbor. Some things haven’t changed though. We still hope. We still have faith that America will survive. God hasn’t changed. He continues to hold the world in the palm of His hand.

If you are old enough to remember September 11, 2001, then this Sunday do something to honor and celebrate the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives—live for them! If you are too young to remember, then take time this weekend to learn about Patriot Day and what it means. And no matter how old you are—Pray. Pray that our America will never again suffer through a Pearl Harbor or a 911.

Just pray . . .

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