Anticipating Advent: Waiting with Hope

“Did you secure the sheep pen?”

“Yes, Father.” It was only the second time Isaac had been allowed to be with his father and the other shepherds overnight in the fields. He wanted his dad to proud of the way he helped keep the sheep safe during the dark hours of the night. He quietly sat on the ground near his father so he could listen to the men talk.

“It might get cold tonight. The sky is clear and the stars are brilliant. Nights like this are rare and quite remarkable.”

The other shepherds nodded agreement and settled into a companionable quiet while the silence crept around us.

Ishakar boldly interrupted the silence, “Did you hear the rabbi speak about the prophecy this week in the synagogue?”

Isaac remembered being there with his father. They had a long discussion about it as they walked home and even talked about it with mother. The rabbi had taken the Micah scroll and read the part about Bethlehem being where the King would be born. The prophet was reliable but there always the question, when would this happen.

All of Israel waited and had been waiting for so long. The shepherds and those before them had waited just like they were tonight. Tending their sheep, of course, yet sitting around their campfire, thinking the promise had been delayed for some reason. Still waiting with hope, with expectation, with anticipation, that maybe this might be the year the prophecy was fulfilled and the Messiah would come to deliver Israel from the oppressor.

There was no suspense that went along with the anticipation, however just a faithful doing of what needed to be done, tending to the sheep, living well with their families, and looking after the widows and orphans. Living to bring God glory. What else could they do?

How are you waiting?
~Nancy Matheis

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