From the root of Jesse a flower will blossom, the glory of the Lord will fill the earth, and all creation shall see the saving power of God. (Antiphon: Canticle of Zechariah, Morning Prayer, Tuesday, first week of Advent)
While praying the beautiful Psalms and readings for these first few days of Advent, I found myself feeling a precious bond with the people of Israel. And I wondered: Was it difficult for them to keep believing in the prophecies…that God would truly send a Savior?
Two thousand years passed between the time of Abraham and the coming of Christ. That is a long time to keep a Promise alive. So much suffering, enslavement, exile. The prophets came with their words of fire, but they too passed away.
Where was the promised Messiah? Would He ever really come? Was it all a dream?
Surrounded by pagans, the Hebrew people must have wondered about their God. How different He was! He alone was God and He would tolerate no other gods.. He demanded holiness and obedience. Stories of His great power and might were recorded in their holy Scriptures. Were these accounts really true? It had been so long…so very long…the waiting.
One thousand years passed between David singing of the suffering Servant in his Psalms and, finally, the birth of Christ.
But He did come! The Promise was fulfilled. Many generations had come and gone, but somehow faith in their God survived among these people. They continued to hope, and to pass this hope on to their children.
We too are waiting for Christ. During this Advent, we prepare for His coming at Christmas. We await the celebration of His birth. But our waiting is not like that of the Israelites who waited in darkness. We already possess the Light of Christ. We know that He has come, and even now, is with us in our waiting.
But, we are waiting for something else! We are waiting for His coming in Glory on that Last Day. We are waiting for the Resurrection of the dead. We are waiting for our glorified bodies. We are waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth. We are waiting for our King!
And in that sense, we are very much like the Israelites, for it has been so very long….over two thousand years since the birth of our Savior.
The apostles, it seems, thought He would return in their own lifetimes. So many have thought that. But He hasn’t come yet.
And it seems the world is weary of waiting. It even seems that many, if not most, have forgotten Him…have abandoned the Promise. It is too hard to be holy and obedient and patient. We have so many distractions with which to amuse ourselves now. We are so smart and clever and self-sufficient. We have filled the world with our own creations. Who needs a demanding God? We have a new god: ourselves….or pleasure….or both.
But He Is Coming Again! Jesus Himself promised us that the first time He came.
And we know God keeps His Promises.
But it has been so long…where are You Jesus? The world grows so dark again, like in the days before You came two thousand years ago. We need Your Light! We are so weary.
We long for You so! If we call to You….will You come? Can our yearning bring you to us?
Look, I am coming soon.. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
I am the sprig from the root of David and the bright star of the morning. I am indeed coming soon.
Amen; come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:13-14,16,20) NJB