They had been waiting for so long. While Daniel was with them, he taught so many people of his God. He taught of prophecy and the future. He even instructed kings and endured the jealous hatred of lesser
officials. The Magi knew of the supernatural manifestations of Daniel's God. There was a promise of a King, a Messiah yet to come, and it was Daniel's deepest desire to see that fulfilled. But no. Daniel was told
he would rest with his ancestors and another generation would see that blessed day. Still, he passed on his keen anticipation to the eager young men training to become the Magi of the future.
So they waited. And waited. Slowly, the anticipation began to wane. First, only a few. Then more. Each generation became just a little bit more negligent in passing on the passionate expectancy of the greatest prophet they had ever known. Eventually, mockers arose saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (borrowing this from 2 Peter 3:4).
Now dwindled down to a few faithful watchers, they kept their nightly vigil, looking for the sign of the King to come. It wasn't that there hadn't been other kings to acknowledge over the years; there were many. They dutifully acknowledged them, bringing them gifts and honor. These were merely earthly kings. No, they were still looking for the sign of the heavenly King. Generation after generation looked for that heavenly King and prayed they would be the ones privileged enough to worship at His
feet. The treasure had been set aside long ago. Soldier escorts had stood ready at a moment's notice. All that was needed was the sign.
And finally, one night it happened. The scoffers and mockers were left behind and the privileged, faithful few met the summons they had longed for since the days of Daniel. They got to see the face of the Lord God Almighty.
This near to Christmas, the air is thick with anticipation. Just ask any parent with munchkins! They almost vibrate with joyous thoughts of Christmas morning. Theirs is a model for the rest of us. In fact, we're told so many times throughout both Old and New Testaments to have hope. That isn't the, “Oh, wow, gee, I sure hope this is going to happen. I hope God will hear me.” No. Biblical hope can be defined as an eager, expectant anticipation. This expectancy shouldn't die once the tree and trimmings are down, packed away until next year. This expectancy is to be a perpetual condition.
We are to greet each new day by expecting God to work and flow through us, touching the lives around us to His glory. We expect our prayers to be heard and we wait excitedly to see God's response. We come to church with eyes wide open, convinced that He will manifest Himself to His eager, beloved children, and who would want to miss even a second of that? Then there is what Paul called 'our blessed hope' (Titus 2:13): the (soon and very soon!) coming of Jesus the Christ for His beloved
followers that He has called to His side. Finally there will be the triumphant arrival of King Jesus to rule and reign over the earth. What a thrilling prospect! We might, just might, be the generation that gets to stand before the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, watching as He
reclaims our shattered, sick world from the devil who stole it. Darkness will be done. Holy light will eventually shine again. Just picture it! We, too, could see the face of the Lord God Almighty! What a blessed prospect!
Yes, the worldly system is dark. Christmas has been stained with cynical commercialism and crass consumerism. But we, as ambassadors of Christ can shine in our expectant hope and still see God's will be done. We can still bring Him glory.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Rejoice! Our Lord has come, and He will come again!