The Coming We Ached For

“And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior… He has filled the hungry with good things’” (Luke 1:46-47, 53a, NKJV).

After four thousand years of human history, human tragedy, human depravity, human bewilderment, human searching, human longing… God burst through the barrier that kept us from Him and entered our world. He came to encounter the hungry and fill them with good things.

Everything in those four thousand years pointed to the coming of a Savior. Prophecy upon prophecy foretold His arrival. His people yearned for the relief His advent would bring. My favorite Christmas carol voices this so beautifully: “Long lay the world, in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth…” Matthew’s gospel depicts the spiritual reality of humanity as we ached for Him to come – we “sat in darkness… in the region and shadow of death…” until His Light dawned and shone in our hearts (Matt. 4:16, NKJV).

The great prophets of old, too, thirsted for the manifestation of the Messiah. Look how vividly the Apostle Peter depicts their ravenous search for insight pertaining to His arrival:

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11, NIV)

Even the very last prophet of the old covenant era, John the Baptist, sent word to Jesus to inquire searchingly, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” (Matt. 11:3, NIV).

Peter adds to his description of the prophets’ pursuit of messianic revelation, “Even angels long to look into these things” (v. 12). Even the angels! Everyone in the universe was created to long for Jesus!

All over the world today, just like in millennia past, spirits are starved for the glorious news of great joy that the angels proclaimed to the shepherds. And you and I have what they are craving. The Desire of All Nations has come into our lives. Today, Jesus says to you and me, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.  Truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matt. 13:16-17, ESV).

As the pregnant virgin Mary expressed exultantly, God fills the hungry with good things. The Bethlehem story is about the satiating of our longings; only the Savior born to us can slake our thirsty human spirits. Right where you live, other empty, parched hearts are searching too. This Christmas, is Holy Spirit stirring you to share our magnificent hope with one of them?