Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jesse Tree: Generations of Waiting

Matthew 1
Matthew focuses nearly his entire introduction to Jesus on the many people who waited, for thousands of years, for the arrival of the Messiah. In an age of instant gratification, we can easily forget what it means to wait with anticipation. Anything we want or need is already made and available for us to buy; we don't even need to wait until we have the money to buy it: just use credit. The vast majority of our ancestors had to wait for their food to grow, then for it to be harvested and prepared, then for it to be cooked before they could eat it. We can skip all that waiting and swipe a credit card for an already cooked meal anytime we choose. With all that, how easy it is to forget that our ancestors knew the world was messed up; knew they themselves were messed up; knew they needed God to fix the mess they were in; yet still had to wait thousands of years--generation after generation without a cure for their spiritual ailment--before the arrival of their much-needed Messiah.
We have less than 30 days now to wait until Christmas. That's hardly any time at all compared to the millennia of waiting for the original Christmas. Whether you begin in a couple days with December 1 or follow a liturgical church calendar of Advent beginning this year on December 2, it's worthwhile taking the opportunity to build up our anticipation for Christ's coming. We remember the generations of waiting for His first coming, which we now benefit from a great deal, and we look forward in anticipation to His return. The Jesse Tree my family celebrates, which I post here throughout Advent, focuses on those generations waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, from the very first humans on earth through the first humans Jesus saw at His birth. Our need for a Savior has been satisfied; we will never again be without the cure for our spiritual sickness. Yet focusing on those who waited eagerly for Christ to cure them helps us appreciate the availability we now have to our Messiah (our instant gratification for all spiritual needs) and helps us welcome Him more fully into our hearts and homes at Christmastime.

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