The Bible has four grand themes: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. God creates all things in the beginning. He declares everything good. And those whom he’s created in his image? They are very good. But soon his very good creatures, Adam and Eve, fall into sin. What was perfect and pure became polluted. Now there was fear. Now there was shame and blame. But God pursues and God responds. There are curses and grave consequences but also a glorious, yet veiled, promise.
Genesis 3:15 says this – “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Bound up in this promise is a great expectation. Eve’s name – which means the mother of all living – is imbued with that expectation and hope. There will be a coming deliverer, a seed of the woman, who will bring a future redemption. But where there’s expectation and hope, there’s also waiting. Genesis 3:15 is the beginning of this waiting for redemption. There were many who looked like potential deliverers but eventually fell short: Noah, Moses, David, Solomon. There were hundreds upon hundreds of years of waiting for the promised deliverer who would bring our redemption.
What we celebrate this week in Christmas is the answer to that waiting: The Incarnation. God kept his promise. He came. He sent his own Son, Immanuel, to redeem his people. He who knew no sin came to be the sin that had stained and wrecked the world, the sin that had condemned us. And he rose, confirming the victory over sin and death.
But still we wait. We aren’t waiting for redemption any longer but a restoration, a coming consummation. The story isn’t over yet. He will come again, to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Meanwhile, we can learn from those who waited in the past. They can teach us. For our waiting now mirrors their waiting in the past.
So we must learn to wait in this world as we wait for the next. We wait for the mundane like next year’s baseball season to start or for our child to be old enough to drive. We also wait for the more important things like an end to Covid-19 and the restrictions we’ve been living under. But let this worldly waiting prepare you for the eternal. Because this worldly waiting should train us in how to wait for the eternal things, for THE eternal thing. All our waiting here on earth, all our longing is an echo of a greater longing. A longing for an eternal consummation when all will be made right. When Christ will come again.
Lord, teach us to wait.