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A Waiting World, the Anticipation of Christmas, and What We Learn About the Love of God

Nothing is ever enough, including what we see in ourselves.

It’s an exhausting way to live—always hustling, forever fighting to get to that next level where we hope to find a sense of fulfillment and joy.

I don’t know about you, but what I want most is for someone to help get me off that hamster wheel. I want someone to look me in the eyes and say: “You are enough, not because of what you’ve done, but because of who you are.”

We Long to Be Welcomed

We live in a world of exclusivity; only certain people are wanted in the special places. There is a certain estrangement we feel from our communities, co-workers, and, at times, even our churches. When we walk into Sunday morning services each week, the tension seems clear. There are certain social circles for the ‘spiritual’ people who’ve got everything together and other circles where the rest of us ‘messy’ folk must reside.

The word ‘welcome’ has simply lost its meaning.

Amidst the exclusivity, we all long for an invitation to just come and be. We don’t have to impress, we don’t have to put on a show, we can just be accepted for who we are and where we are—no pretenses.

We Long to Be Loved

It might sound cliché, but it’s true. It seems that for most of our lives, we’ve all tried to live with a large hole in our hearts—not physical, hopefully, but spiritual. There is something in each of us that wants to know that we’re cared for.

Augustine, in his work The Confessions, came to grips with the restlessness of the human heart. It is searching, always seeking to find a source of comfort and fulfillment on this earth. We look to our peers, love interests, kids, and pets, trying to find someone who will say the words “I love you” and really mean it.

The problem is, when these people fall short of our expectations, we all too easily find ourselves struggling to pick up the pieces from a life left undone by disappointment. Could there be, many of us wonder, a better way? Is there something—particularly, someone—we can root ourselves in?

A King Is Coming

As Paul tells us in Romans 8, “The whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Just like the Pevensie children so quickly noticed upon their arrival in Narnia, the world is simply not as it should be.

In this time of waiting, patience is key. We wait, but do so with great expectation, trusting that God will fulfill all of his many promises to us. As believers, we never fear, we do not lose hope, nor do we give into discouragement, because we know how the story ends: Jesus—the long-awaited Messiah—is on the move.

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and he has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves at his local church, Highpoint Church, as a teaching pastor. Dr. Stetzer is currently living in England and teaching at Oxford University.