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In HOPE - Faculty Publications

  In HOPE 7.34 

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David Timms  

Hope Happenings

On Saturday, January 19, 2008 Hope International University will host The Energizing Smaller Churches Network Seminar on campus. This seminar is sponsored by Standard Publishing and The Energizing Smaller Churches Network. The Keynote speaker for the day will be Ben Merold of Harvester Christian Church, St. Charles, MO. Go to www.hiu.edu for more information.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


How much of human life is lost in waiting?
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Christmas Wait

Christmas is full of waiting. We wait at checkouts (and then Returns counters) and at airports. We wait for mail and for gifts. We wait in crowds. We wait alone. We wait with anticipation. We wait with dread. As children, December 25 could never come quickly enough. Even Christmas Eve could feel like a week!

The first Christmas was no different. Luke begins the story with Elizabeth and Zacharias who had waited a lifetime for a child. Then Zacharias must wait for the birth before he can speak again. Similarly, Mary and Joseph's story becomes one of waiting -- not sitting around, but waiting; waiting nine months for the end of her God-orchestrated pregnancy, for the world's first glimpse of the Son of God. Meanwhile, Simeon and Anna waited at the temple for "the consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25) and "the redemption of Jerusalem" (Luke 2:38).

Everything about Christmas, from the first to the current, speaks of waiting. Lots of it.

Not that we like it at all. Wait and waste sound too much alike. "Don't just stand there. Do something. Anything!" Waiting is neither something nor anything. In our life's economy, it's nothing.

But waiting forms the centerpiece of the biblical Christmas story. By contrast, words like rush and chaos mark our Christmas story. No time to wait -- or waste. Like Martha much later, hospitality means hurry .

Yet, as we learn to wait with hope, attentiveness, submission, and patience, we see the Child. Jesus does not yell over the blare of Christmas music. Nor does He create a spectacle more dazzling than decorations or parades. He does not force His way into our gift-opening traditions, nor over-ride our feasting and football. He too waits. He tarries in the stillness.

This season will be filled with the usual waiting -- most of which drives us crazy, creates stress and conflict, and irritates us. But might we engage a different kind of wait -- one filled with promise, awareness, and anticipation? A wait that adds meaning to the season and prepares us for the Christ ... a prayerful wait.

Emerson's quote (above) lacks accuracy. We don't lose life by waiting, especially as we wait expectantly and attentively on Christ. To the contrary, we find it. May this Christmas be filled with the best kind of waiting for each of us.




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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.