Wait and See — or Come and See? An Advent Response (Luke 2:15)

Luke 2:15, “So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.”

Today, the challenge of the gospel reading is simply this, “how do you respond to the Gospel?” About this time of year as I walk the aisles of our department stores there is one phrase I hear over and over again, “Wait and see.” A young child wants the newest toy fad and pleads with his mother. Her response, “We will have to wait and see.” Although these words are a subtle copout by the parent, it is an expression of hope for the child. The parent neither confirms nor denies and hopes to diffuse the situation. The child on the other hand thinks since it’s not a “no” then there is a glimmer of hope they can wear down the parents to give in. Christmas is the day of expectation, the day of hopes realized, or shattered. “Wait and see” are the words that remind us our only power is in the asking.

How you experienced Christmas and those moments of “wait and see” as a child affect how you interpret those same words as you grow older. If “wait and see” turned out to be a pair of socks instead of a rock ’em sock ’em robot, well, your heart usually falls at the sounds of those words in your later years. So when your loved one says the doctors need to run more tests and you ask what the outcome will be you hear, “We will have to wait and see.” When you are waiting word from that job interview, everyone asks how it went and all you have to say is, “wait and see.” That loan, those hopes for graduate school, the promotion you’ve worked extra for… all “wait and see.”

Enter the angels. They come down from the starry night proclaiming something new, something you’ve been waiting for. They say that God has entered into their reality, that God has stepped into their neighborhood, that God is doing something new just around the corner. If those shepherds had been tainted by long awaited promises never fulfilled the story would have read differently. But the response of the shepherd was “let us go and see” not “let us wait and see if its true.” Herod, he waited, he skipped the six mile hike to see the Messiah. But those shepherds, those low class, simple men and women decided to go.

My question for you today is about how you define hope. Has your hopes been dashed one too many times and you are resigned to a gloomy “wait and see?” No longer is hope that confident expectation of those children tugging on the heart strings of their parents, running down the stairs in the early morning hoping their favorite toy is wrapped and under the tree. Has your hope turned to a powerless wish or is it excited and confident expectations? How do you respond to Jesus today?

The shepherds heard and responded with a “go and see” mentality. God had broken through their everyday routine, their seemingly insignificant lives. Why would angels come to them of all people? How will these shepherds change the world? They change the world because when God beckons, they respond. They go, they see, they answer the hope in their hearts. This Christmas God is breaking through. This Advent Jesus is showing up in all our ordinary lives. This year is going to end well because God has proclaimed peace and goodwill to you in whom he is well pleased. How will you respond? When the doctors say you need more tests. When the letter never seems to come in the mail, when the “jury is out” on the big decisions of your life… will you consign yourself to their latent answers and make a wish? Will you just wait and see? Or do you believe God is working on your behalf? That God is breaking through your everyday with something spectacular bundled in lowly and ordinary wrapping? Come and see what God is doing.

Have hope that God is bringing about true peace in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Join the shepherds and seek out the King. He may not be found in the common answers and common places you might expect. This king is a child. This king is not dressed in fine silk snuggled in a warm bed surrounded by a mighty fortress. He is found in a manger, in a barn. Christ dwells in the hard to believe places. Maybe you are in a place where you think it will be hard to believe God is there. Maybe you are awaiting more bad news, maybe you are telling yourself to wish it all better, to “wait and see.” God is not in the test results, in the application you filled out, in the phone call you’ve been waiting for. Seek God out and follow the shepherd to “go and see” where God is at work.

Put your trust in Christ who will not disappoint. Have hope in God. Be confident in your hope for he will bring lasting peace to your soul. Even when the answers do not come, if your hope is in Christ you have a present peace. So often we “wait and see” with anxiety and fear. This Advent season remember that Christ has come, that Christ is come, that Jesus is called Immanuel, God with us… God with You! As you wait, wait upon Him with a heart full of faith and a mind filled with peace for your hope is founded upon the God who is breaking through your situation, breaking through the darkness. Come and see, Go and find, ask, seek and knock for Jesus is waiting to answer, to be found and to let you in.

And the shepherds said, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Do you need some peace? Do not “wait and see” if it just happens, go and seek the savior for by your response of hope shall you find peace. Amen. Amen.

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