Inspired by Luke 1:46b-55
“[The Lord] has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendents forever.” Luke 1:54-55 (NRSV)
Nearly two thousand years after Jesus promised his disciples he’d return, it’s difficult to keep waiting in hopeful expectation for his arrival. It’s easy to doubt that he meant it, or that he’s capable of it, or even that God cares enough about us to make it happen. After all, it’s been so long, and so much as changed.
But God has not changed, and God keeps his promises. We are not the first to wait two thousand years for the fulfillment of a divine promise. We are not the first to see our lives and culture change so much that we would be unrecognizable to our earliest ancestors. The Israelites had experienced exactly the same thing. Two thousand years after God promised Abraham the land as a perpetual holding and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him and his descendents, the Israelites were a conquered people, their land occupied by the Romans. They had once been a great nation, but they had fallen, and wandered away from their faith in God many times. Other nations had met Israel in war or in trade, but none had ever been blessed through Israel.
Until Mary was asked to bear Jesus.
Two thousand years after the promise to Abraham, it was fulfilled in a child born to a peasant in a stable. That child opened the way for salvation for all people, all nations. And that child, God’s own Son, has promised to return.
God takes a much longer view of the world and events than humans can comprehend. We exist on earth for such a short period, we tend to overemphasize the importance of the events of our lifetimes. But just because God doesn’t act according to our timeframe or expectations doesn’t mean he has forgotten his promises. The Israelites waited two thousand years for the birth of their Messiah; that Messiah has been working in the world through his people for the past two thousand years. Only God knows when his work will be complete, and it is time for him to return.
Let us pray. God of faithfulness, your Word endures throughout the generations. Enable us to patiently wait and work with Christ, that we may remain expectant and hopeful for his eventual return. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.