On Christmas Eve, in a dim corner of our Iowa home, I’ll light our Advent candle for the last time this year.
For us, the waiting will be over.
Our Prince of Peace has come. Our King of Kings has arrived. Our babe – the Messiah — has been born in Bethlehem. We will celebrate Christmas, knowing that our Savior has been born.
The promise rings true and sure for us. But on this day, I can’t help but think about them: the pre-Jesus ones.
They were living B.C. They’d heard tell of a coming King, an everlasting dynasty. But I wonder: Did those promises make any sense at all?
The characters in the book are once again gathered around the campfire to listen to the old storyteller. They come with hard questions, hearing even harder answers. Collectively, they lament the wait. They want a king. And really: Is that too much to ask?
A young man in the crowd calls out:
“… we have no king. Where is this everlasting dynasty now?”
The old storyteller at the campfire gropes for words of reassurance. His answer: Wait.
“… we must wait for another Son of David, another anointed one, who will lead our people back into covenant faithfulness with God.”
The young man asks the question that begs an answer: “How long must we wait?”
I’m reading those words in Sean Gladding’s book, a few days before Christmas, and I find myself shaking my head. I can be such a whiner, you know? I think I’ve got it bad. I complain about the wait at the Target checkout lane and the drive-through hamburger joint.
The pre-Jesus people? Their wait would have felt like a heavy pressing-in on the chest.
Their prophets spoke of a coming King. I wonder: Did those words ring in their ears like hollow promises of a faraway fairy tale?
Today, in my celebration of a Savior, I ache for the B.C. people. Even more, I ache for those who are living “pre-Jesus” in the here and now, A.D. Because some of us don’t recognize the King either, even though he’s already come.
I want to leap into the pages of this book, clasp the hands of the old storyteller and tell him. “You’re right! There is a King! And yes, you better believe it: He’s coming.”
And I want to share it in 2010, too. I want to spread the Good News about the one who wears an everlasting crown: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)