Tis the Season of Anticipation

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Good Morning and Welcome to Sylvania Wesleyan Church. I am so Glad that we can be gathered together this morning. Tis the season. Tis the season for so many things.
We often refer to this time of the year as the Holiday Season or for Christians the Christmas season. It is a time of year where we have several holidays in quick succession. It is more than that though. It is more than just a couple of holidays for us. It isn’t just merely a day which we give presents to each other and share words of love and affection. It is more than what the commercialization of this time of year has told us it is.
It is the time of year that we remember the coming of Jesus. It is the start of the hope that we find in Christ. This morning than and the next several weeks leading up to Christmas we will be in a series called
“Tis the Season”
This morning we will be beginning with the Tis the season of Anticipation.
Anticipation is a funny thing. I don’t know about you but i have a love hate relationship with Anticipation.
See, I love anticipation because it is what makes things exciting and keeps it interesting especially around holiday’s like Christmas.

Christmas as a Kid

Take a moment and either remember what it was like to be a kid on Christmas Eve or what it was like for your kids on those days.
What is the one thing that almost every kid struggles with on that night?
They struggle to go to bed.
They struggle to go to sleep because they can’t wait for the morning. The Anticipation is killing them. They are sitting on pins and needles in excitement waiting for the morning to see what they got for Christmas.
Not only do they struggle with going to sleep let’s be honest they struggle with staying asleep. Think about it the classic story of the kids not waiting for their parents they get up and go dive into the presents and start opening everything while the parents sleep. Or they jump on the parents at 5 in the morning and wake them up ready to open presents instead of enjoying some rest.
My Dad had a defense for this. He messed with us a couple years because he wouldn’t let us open presents till we were cleaned up, dressed, and had eaten breakfast. Than he would also take the time to read us the Christmas story from Luke. He slowed us down. It worked too because we never really rushed the morning of Christmas but the anticipation would build for that first present.
That anticipation though would grow. This time of year brings it out.
This morning we sit 4 weeks from Christmas morning and while that seems like it is a long time to wait it is amazing how fast it will go.

Why do we look forward to Christmas Morning?

That got me thinking why do we look forward to Christmas morning so much?
Now the practical answer is the presents. The Spiritual answer is because Jesus is born and it is the day that we celebrate that.
Yet, why does that make it so amazing. Why couldn’t it be say on New Years, or some other day?
The point is that we have come to anticipate this day because we learned to.
We were taught to look to this day as important and as something special.
To appreciate what happens that day we have to know the end of the story.

To Understand the Beginning We have to look to the End

Think about it the first couple years of a kids life Birthday’s and Christmas aren’t that exciting. Babies have no idea what is happening. we buy them all kinds of presents and than they end up in the box having the time of their life.
They don’t understand why those days are special. They have to learn. At some point they realize the end of the story is presents so now the beginning of the season is more exciting. They learn to sit in anticipation of the coming of Christmas.
It really isn’t that different when it comes to our view of the coming of Jesus. We look forward to his birth because we know how the story ends. We know that he dies on the cross to forgive us of our sins. If we didn’t know that it is nothing more than any other birth of a baby boy.
This is why we look at this mornings passage because we need to be reminded of what the end looks like. Turn with me to
Romans chapter 13
We will be in verses 11-14
Romans 13:11–14 NIV
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

The Present Time

One of the first things that stands out to us this morning from the passage is the idea of the Present.
The present is always an interesting thing to look at.
We look around at the present day and we think that the sins of this world are the worst they have been. I have thought about that a lot in the recent years. If you study history and you look at our world the reality is that sin hasn’t really changed all that much.
Verse 13 pretty much sums up the sins that we face each day in our world.
The truth is we live in a world that is focused on how we can take care of ourselves and what we want to bring us pleasure. Instead of living a life that is of sacrifice and focused on God. It doesn’t matter what time you are in these core focuses haven’t changed.
Yet the Hour has come...

The Hour has Come...

Its time to wake up. The alarm clock is ringing. It is time for us to wake from our slumber. to realize that more now than ever before our salvation is near.
Both in the sense that we wait in anticipation of the coming of Jesus in celebrating that at Christmas time and in the sense that He is coming again some day soon.
This idea of waking up got me thinking about alarm clocks. I have come to understand in this world there are two types of people in the world when it comes to waking up. There is the person who gets up when the alarm goes off and the person who hits the snooze button.

The Snooze Button

Now I have to confess i am not a snooze button person. I have never really learned to use it. When the alarm goes off it is time to get up. I know people though that will hit the snooze button 7 or 8 times. They plan for this. They set their alarm knowing they will hit it that many times.
I want you to think about that. The average snooze button time is 7 min. I had to look that up by the way. If you hit the snooze button 7 times you just woke up for the first time 49 minutes before you actually had to. That’s almost an hour of uninterrupted sleep that you could have had. I don’t get it but to each their own i guess.
The problem with the snooze button is if we aren’t careful you miss waking up on time.
Remember V. 11
Romans 13:11 NIV
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
If we hit he snooze button on our faith too many times we will realize that the hour has already come. It is time to wake up from our slumber.

Wake from our Slumber

When Paul speaks of slumber it is commonly thought he is referencing the lethargic Christian. The person who doesn’t want to commit to the life they know they are called to live. The Truth is that if we aren’t careful we realize that the hour has already come and we have waited to long to engage in our faith.
We can’t sit around hoping we can guess the time that Jesus is coming back the second time.
Matthew 24:36–42 NIV
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

The Day is Near

The day is drawing closer that Christ will return. We don’t have any idea when it will happen. Even Paul and the other apostles didn’t know. Yet, they approached life like the day was going to be tomorrow.
Let me ask you are you living in your faith like it is going to be tomorrow that Jesus is coming back?
Are you living like it could be any minute, or hour, or day that God will return?
I don’t say all these things to strike fear into your hearts as so many will hear. Instead ij say this to remind us all that the hope is coming and we need to be ready. I don’t know about you but I can’t wait for the coming of Jesus. The anticipation is so strong it is amazing. I anticipate it more than anything else in my life. I hope that it will happen in my life time. Yet, I also hope that it is years to come because there is much work to be done.
It is this anticipation of the coming of Christ that I am reminded that i have to put aside the things of life that keep me from him. Instead to put on the Armor the protection of God and share the light into the world.

The Armour Of Light

I love this description that Paul uses here for the armour or the protection that we put into our lives. The truth is that life is a Battle. It is difficult and we have to be prepared.
However, that isn’t why I love this description. It is the word that he uses to describe the armour.
Typically we see armour as just protection for ourselves. However, the idea of the Armour of light is that it shines forth. It pushes back the darkness. Not only does it light the path for each of us when we wear it but it lights the path for others. When we come together we can be a force that changes the world around us as we share the message of the Gospel to the world.

Tis the Season

It is the season of anticipation. The season we wait for the coming of Jesus born to a Virgin in a Manger. That blessed day the heavens cried out in joy and in wonder at the coming King and Savior of Jesus. We celebrate that and it brings us hope. It gives us hope because we can know that one day we can see the return of the King and everything will be restored to as it should be. We will be with and in relationship with God again in a way that we can’t even begin to imagine.
We sit in anticipation of that Gift of Both Jesus’ Birth and his second coming.
Let us Pray!
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