Remember the last time that you were anxiously waiting for something such as a birth, graduation, scholarship, job offer, or retirement? Good news can be a surprise, catching us when we least expect it, but it can also come when we do expect it. When we have been waiting for it, preparing for it, and diligently hoping for it.

When John starts announcing the coming of the Messiah during the early first century (Mark 1:1-8), the nation of Israel had been waiting for a long time. Ever since the death of their beloved second king, David the son of Jesse, they were waiting for the anointed one who would establish the house of God forever, who would reign forever, and be the Son of God. They were a country divided, threatened by the massive power of their neighbor Assyria. They had more ungodly kings than righteous. They had more problems than blessings. Then Isaiah comes along and says that out of Galilee will arise something glorious, a child who will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,” and his proclamation includes that this child’s rule will go on forever sitting on the throne of David with peace, justice, and righteousness. Time goes on and the people are taken into captivity and returned from captivity. Their city is destroyed, rebuilt, reconquered, and never really free under any empire ever again. For those still hanging on to prophecies several hundred years old, the coming of the Messiah is absolutely and positively good news! That’s Gospel! What is it that you are hoping and waiting for? What are you looking for in your life, for your family, for your country, and for the world? In what ways does Jesus play a part in those positive expectations?

Today, I will…make a list of those things that we hope for and expect, especially those that will be fulfilled in Jesus. I will post this list in a prominent place so that it sparks conversation with someone in my family, work, or other context.