Every Sunday, we gather with other believers to worship. We sing together to both praise our Creator and Savior and edify one another. We pray together. We study scripture together. We offer contribution to continue the work of the congregation. Most importantly, we share in the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior through the Lord’s supper. Every week, we proclaim the Lord’s death, until His return, through this simple act of worship.
At our congregation, one of the men leads a “communion focus” (some places use the word homily. In our house, we often say “table talk”). This week, my husband led us in this part of worship. He talked about this time of year being filled with anticipation for Christmas. He relayed childhood memories of anxiously waiting for once a year activities, foods, TV specials, and presents. He then compared those feelings to the Jews of the first century, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Messiah. The leaders of the day knew the time was ripe for His arrival. They knew the signs of the prophets. However, reality did not match their expectations. The Savior of the world was born in the lowliest of circumstances, grew up in a simple household, and lived his adult life without a home of his own. Rather than overthrowing the harsh Roman rule, He told the people to respect those who God places in authority. Rather than set up an earthly kingdom, He told the people how to have an abundant life. He spoke to the intent of the law, rather than the rituals and add-ons of the leaders.
My husband finished his communion focus with this thought:
We can get so focused on the coming or birth of the Messiah that we can lose our focus on why Jesus actually came to Earth. Yes, Jesus’ birth was foretold in the Old Testament and is indeed miraculous. However, his death and purpose were also spoken of by the prophets. It is good that we remember the birth of Jesus, but we did not receive our forgiveness through his birth but through his death. There can be no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). The miracle of the birth of Jesus is magnified through his life and death on the cross. We do not have to wait a full year to celebrate the birth, life, and death of the Messiah. We get to do that every week as we participate in the Lord’s Supper.
In Psalm 5:3, David wrote, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” David didn’t doubt that his prayer would be answered, rather he anticipated that God would act on his behalf. In the book of Daniel we read that while Daniel was praying, God was forming an answer (Daniel 9:13). Jesus himself says in Matthew 6:8 that God knows what we need before we ever ask.
Whatever you may be anticipating this season, you can have confident expectation!