This Coming Season

This Coming Season
Written by Kailynn Nelson
Christmas is a season of waiting and a season of hope. Kids wait for Santa to come. Families wait to come together to celebrate. Shoppers wait in lines. If you work in retail you wait for the craziness to be over. From the movies we watch, to the songs we sing, everywhere we turn we get caught up in the anticipation and hope. This season reminds us of what it means to wait. It reminds us what it means to look to the future with hope. It reminds us of the joy that we find at the end of all our waiting. It reminds us that waiting is worth it, something that we often forget in our culture today. Christmas reminds us that there is something for us to look forward to.
A few Sundays ago, Jeremy preached a sermon based on the song “Seasons” by Hillsong. This song uses winter as a metaphor for waiting on the promises of God. The song reminds us that even though waiting on God may seem like a new season to come in the middle of winter, this long wait will produce a richer harvest. It reminds us that winter is long and cold.
I spent the first 22 years of my life living in Denver, Colorado, so the idea of long, cold winters is very familiar to me. I easily understand the idea of waiting for winter to end. As we sang the song together, I remembered looking out my bedroom window morning after morning, and seeing flakes fall down and cover the ground. I remembered slow, icy drives to school in the morning. Sometimes the snow was pretty, but most of the time it was just cold. And it lasted a long time. The cold temperatures in Denver would start in October and we usually saw our first snow by Halloween. The snow would come off and on until the end of March. The first chill in the air that signaled a change in the seasons, and the first snow fall, were kind of exciting for me. But by the time December rolled around I was always ready for spring. I often found myself looking forward to the end of the cold, waiting for spring to come. Sometimes it felt like winter would never end, but I always knew that the new season would come.
As I said above, Christmas teaches us a lot about waiting. It teaches us about patience. It reminds us to look forward to what is coming. Christians often celebrate Advent, which is Latin for “coming” or “arrival.” It is a season of remembering the arrival or coming of Jesus Christ. During this time, those of us that believe in Jesus remember that our holy God came to the world He made, in human form, to save us from our sins. God had promised His people that He would send a Savior. And, He came through on that promise. The Christmas season is a time to reflect on that. We can look back and say, “Look what God has done.” During Christmas, we remember that He kept this promise, even though it took longer than expected. The song “Seasons” speaks to this when it says, “You could have saved us in a second, instead You sent a child.” When sin first entered the world God could have fixed everything right then and there. But instead He took the long route. I will be honest and say that I don’t fully understand His reasoning in all of this. But I will say that the timing of God, even if it is slow, is usually an act of mercy toward us. Perhaps it is a bit like cooking. It is convenient to throw something in a microwave for a minute. But any food that actually has quality to it will take a long time. The best food is the kind that takes time. God took His time to save us and I believe that produced a much sweeter salvation. This salvation is what God has promised the world. Because God kept His promise in sending Jesus, we now have the promise of right standing with God. We have the promise that He will provide for us. We have the crazy promise that God loves us and will continue to love us because of Jesus.  This is the promise that we don’t have to wait for. This is the season that has already come.
But there is a still another season coming. God is not done being faithful to His people. There is still one more promise that He will keep. “Seasons” talks about waiting for God being like waiting for winter to end. And in a sense, the whole world is in a season of winter. We are all still living in a season of Advent. There is another coming. The spring we look forward to is when Jesus comes to us again. This time, instead of coming to us in a manger, as a baby, He will come in glory and majesty. When Jesus was living on Earth, people doubted that He was the Son of God. They doubted that He was the one that God promised. But when He comes again there will be no doubt at all who He is. And when He comes He will take away all our pain. All the suffering we face here in this life will melt away in the light of the glory of God. This is the new coming that we wait for.
It’s been a long winter. I know I often find myself wondering if that day will truly come. I wonder if I will really make it to the end, if I will make it to spring. I get caught up in the day to day so easily. Especially during Christmas time I know that I am distracted by the chaos and business of life. I lose sight of the end, I lose sight of what God has promised me. I take my eyes off the horizon and my faith shakes a bit. In these past few months I have been exhausted by trying to wait on God. I think when I am not focused on the promise that Jesus has come and will come again, it gets harder for me to trust God with the smaller things. I also know that He has called me to specific things, but when those things seem slow to happen I lose sight of the ultimate goal. But in His grace, Jesus has reminded me recently to look up. He has reminded me to look to Him, to His coming again.
Hebrews 11:10 and Hebrews 11:13-16 have been very special to me over the past three years. These verses have helped me take some pretty big steps of faith because they have helped me focus on something beyond what I can see here. Hebrews 11:10 says, “For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” In this part of Hebrews the author is talking about how Abraham trusted God by leaving his homeland and moved to a land that God had called him to. Earlier in this passage the author says that Abraham did not know where he was going. And in verse 10 we read how Abraham was looking up toward something greater than this Earth. He was looking forward to this better city. Later in Hebrews 11:13-16 it says
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from a far, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.”
In these verses, I am reminded that even in my long winters here on earth there is something better coming. Abraham and Sarah desired something greater. They desired the presence of God. I love how the verse says, “they desire a better country.” It reminds me to look past what I can see right now. It reminds me that spring is coming.
It is easy to doubt the timing of God. The Apostle Peter writes that people will say to us, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation” ( 2 Peter 3:4). As we trust that Jesus will come again, many may laugh at our faith. They will question why He is taking so long. But as I said before, I think that God’s slowness is an act of mercy toward us. In response to doubts Peter says this “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). We may be tempted to think that God is making us wait, either for His coming or for any other promise, because He is cruel or perhaps He is lazy. But Peter reminds us here that God is taking His time for our good. We hear this echoed in the chorus of “Seasons.” The time that God is taking to bring about His promises always produces a sweeter harvest.
In this Christmas season I hope that you will find the strength to keep on waiting. It is hard to wait. Sometimes the season we are in can feel like it is crushing us. It may seem that you can’t wait any longer. But I hope that as you reflect on the promise that God has already fulfilled, you will remember that there is more to come. As you point back and say, “Look what God has done, “I hope you will also be able to face forward and say, “Look at what God will do.” The winter is cold. The winter is long. But just remember that a new season is coming, and when it does the harvest will be richer than you could ever imagine.
Related Links:
Desiring God: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
The Gospel Coalition: Advent: Waiting Hopefully , or Rushing Frantically
Ghost Ship: The Revelation of Jesus Christ

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