Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14 ESV
We all get caught up in the human idea of time. It is the logical unit by which we organize our lives. We mark the passing of one year to the next with parties and ball drops. We celebrate our age in marking passing birthdays. We track the days we need to work until retirement. Chronos time is capturing seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. There is another way of viewing time, Kairos time -- God's right (appointed) time. The number of years between events is unspecified. God has no such need for such constructs. He brings things to order as is fitting by his plan at his choosing.
In today’s verse, we hear the promise of the coming Christ. There is no specification of when this would happen. They were only told to watch for a sign -- the virgin birth of a child named Immanuel. The people were to wait another 700 years before its fulfillment. Many people did not believe even when it happened because this God child did not fit their preconceived ideas. How could the King they had been waiting for so long be born in a stable? What kind of deliverer was this? His poor carpenter father and teenage mom couldn't even get a decent hotel. I'm sure some even doubted a virgin had conceived this Jesus. But then, as now, people will believe what they choose to believe.
Here we are some 2,000 years after Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension. We await the return of Christ and his reign of peace and justice. It is easy for us to tire in the waiting. We have trouble comprehending what God’s time means. We see signs around us that indicate the nearness of that time, but we often prefer to ignore them. We don't know if Christ will return today, tomorrow, in 700 years, or another 2,000 years, but we believe in God’s promise. As this season of Advent comes to a close, let's renew our faith. What has been promised will come to pass. Stay vigilant with our lamps trimmed and extra oil waiting for the coming of our bridegroom.
Almighty God, without beginning and end, we give you thanks for the salvation you offered to us through Jesus Christ. We admit we tire in waiting; we cannot understand why you are taking so long. We ask for strength in our waiting. Please help us not to grow complacent and content but to remain watchful and prepared. We ask this in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.