Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him…And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:1-2, 11
Anticipation or looking forward to something good is a highlight of life. I like to anticipate good food and seeing family over the Christmas season. I take advantage of a break from work. My mind feasts on a good book and my body rests from a rigorous routine. I look forward to college football. Also, knowing the children and grandchildren will enjoy each other and watching them rip open neatly wrapped gifts with bows on top, brings great joy to Pop and BiBi. But most importantly, how can I anticipate the celebration of God’s gift, the birth of His son—Jesus?
The men from the East, were wise to anticipate the arrival of the King of the Jews—Jesus. They set out on a journey to worship the newborn child and to honor Him with expensive gifts. Their act of reverence and generosity came from hearts that for years had anticipated the arrival of the Savior of the world. The evil influence of Herod anticipated how he could highjack the mission of the wise men by demanding they kidnap the homeless baby and bring him back to the King. Pride doesn’t seek tosubmit to someone he sees as a threat, but seeks a way to discredit him.
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him” (Matthew 2:13).
Just as we anticipate and enjoy Almighty God’s gifts, others, who are intimated by bowing to a Savior, will seek ways to put a damper on or even destroy our faithful expressions at Christmas. But in a spirit of humility and love, we still worship Jesus with a grateful heart for His extravagant gift of salvation. He came to seek and save all who receive His grace. We anticipate His grace to live life full of forgiveness and love. So, when joy killers try to steal your joy, remember the joy Jesus brings to the world and count on the joy yet to come. Anticipate God’s generous gifts.
Anticipate, but be careful not to overly calculate. What I mean is, we can count our blessings and praise God for His goodness and still be hopeful yet wise about future expectations. We need not spend money we do not have just because our economic future is bright. Perhaps we increase our standard of giving and not our standard of living. Anticipation for what God wants is the best way to follow His will. Most of all, we anticipate growing in oneness with the One who loves us the most—Jesus Christ. He anticipated us by coming to us in love and forgiveness. “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).
Heavenly Father, I anticipate great things yet to come from You in your great love, in Christ’s name, amen.