Beth is a great friend and member of our Launch Team. She’s been married for over ten years to Mike and out of that marriage has come one seriously fun little girl named Katie. Although Beth is now a stay at home mom, she is also quite the marketing consultant and editor.
Advent is pretty personal for me this year. Rather like a girl 2000 years ago, I’m waiting on a baby. He’s due to arrive just a few days before Christmas, but I can’t help being on high alert already. Waiting. Expecting. Anticipating.
As a result of this preoccupation, many of my family’s Christmas traditions are taking a backseat. We won’t be hosting our annual Christmas Eve breakfast. It remains to be seen whether we’ll make it to Christmas dinner with the extended family. I’ve had to–pardon the pun, but it’s nearly unavoidable–hang up my expectations of having every shred of holiday decor strung and lit and tied with a bow by December 1. We’re hitting the high points this year and letting the rest fall where it may.
With such a non-traditional season shaping up, one of today’s final verses stands out to me:
Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.” (Matthew 21:31)
Jesus’ coming messed things up for a lot of people. The chief priests and elders to whom He speaks here had always known they would be in heaven long before someone so abased as a prostitute. They read passages like Psalm 14 with righteous anger. The “fool” and the “wicked” would get what was coming to them–salvation would come, and they would be thankful for it when those people got what they deserved.
Imagine the priests, whose job it was to help people be ready to identify the Savior when He came. Constantly on the lookout for the Messiah. Ready at every turn to follow the One who would redeem Israel. They had their plans down to the letter. They knew the Scriptures inside and out. They were ready. And they missed Him.
With their hearts attuned so closely to what they expected, they missed the reality of God’s coming. Their minds were fixed on their own desires, and the Joy of Man’s Desiring came and went right in front of them.
I’m trying very hard this year to let go of my expectations for this Christmas season. Perhaps it’s practice for a more meaningful holiday in years to come–everything that stands still in my house might not have a ribbon tied on it, but with a heart that is still, I’m in a better position to anticipate and see the coming of Christ.