A Prayer of Anticipation
By Laura Bailey
“The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35) NIV
The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, my mother would attach my favorite Christmas pin to my jacket, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” it read in bright red and green script. The pinning of the small button each year on my lapel marked the official start of the Christmas season. There was nothing remarkable about the button, it didn’t light up, and there was no sparkle or glitter, just a few words on a white background. Still, with the pin placement each year, my anticipation heightened, and my excitement bubbled over!
One day I asked my mother why she always waited until after Thanksgiving to bring out my special pin. She explained that it was the first Sunday of Advent when we celebrated Jesus’ birth and anticipation His second coming. What started as a cute button place to bring a little Christmas cheer became a powerful reminder to keep Jesus at the center of my Christmas celebrations.
As the years passed and I entered my teens, I abandoned wearing the Christmas pen and, unfortunately, also lost much of my joy for the holiday season. What once was magical became ordinary, anticipated events turned predictable, and celebrating Christ’s birth became another thing on the chaotic Christmas calendar. Last Christmas, now in my late thirties, while decorating for the season, I found my pen nestled in a box that held Christmas memories of old. I felt the immediate conviction of the Holy Spirit, urging me to remember that Jesus is not only the reason for this season but every season.
I think about Mary after the Angel visited her telling her that she would conceive and give birth to the Son of God, Jesus ( Luke 1:26-38). After she got over the initial shock, she was filled with joy and anticipated the arrival of the Savior of the world. Mary would have been very familiar with the prophecies in the Old Testament and would have been eagerly awaiting their fulfillment. We read in Luke about her visiting her cousin, Elizabeth, and how the baby in Elizabeth’s stomach lept for joy in anticipation of the birth of Christ ( Luke 1:39-45). In the months leading up to Jesus’ birth, though not easy, Mary experienced all the usual pains of carrying a baby, delivery, and after the birth, but Mary and Joseph were filled with such anticipation and excitement!
We, too, can experience the season’s excitement like Mary those many years ago. As believers, we thank the Lord for sending his Son and eagerly wait for the second coming of Jesus. As we enter the Advent season, may we keep Christ at the center of our hearts and celebration as we remember that He alone is the reason for the season.
Heavenly Father, thank you for how you love your children, extending grace and mercy when we don’t deserve it. Thank you for always being there, never leaving or forsaking us, even when we turn away from You. We live distracted lives; we confess our divided hearts and wayward spirits. We call on the Holy Spirit to bring us closer to you. May the words of our mouths and our actions profess our gratitude and love for You.
Thank you for giving us the best gift, Jesus. We are undeserving, but you made way for your children to be redeemed. Help us to remember that You alone deserve our glory, obedience, and worship; guide us and lead us as we prepare our hearts and minds for Advent. Keep in the forefront of our celebration the words of Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Thank you for the many blessings in our lives; above all, we thank you for eternal life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Nastco
Laura Bailey is a Bible teacher who challenges and encourages women to dive deep in the Scriptures, shift from an earthly to an eternal mindset, and filter life through the lens of God’s Word. She is the author of Beyond the Noise, and loves any opportunity to speak and teach women of all ages. She is a wife and momma to three young girls. Connect with her on her website, www.LauraRBailey.com
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