Christmas is an exciting and busy season. There are deadlines that need to be met, gifts that need to be purchased right now and preparations that must be made in order to have the kind of Christmas we’ve come to expect. Our busy lives become even more hectic and controlled by the calendar and the clock. “Christmas is a laid-back-take-it-easy time”, said no church starter EVER.
It’s an interesting phenomena, this busyness at Christmas, because the biblical narrative tells a story that has much more to do with patience than hastiness. Consider that Jesus had been expected for hundreds of years by the Jewish nation and that God patiently waited and sent the Messiah at just the right time. Yet even when he arrived was proclaimed as the Christ-child, God waited a solid 30 years before doing anything that related to His calling. Please remember that He came into a culture that was oppressed by a foreign government and harassed by an evil king. The people were not just hopeful for a Messiah, they were desperate for a Messiah. Yet Father and Son remained patient while Jesus grew, not just to manhood, but to middle age status. He spent His time working in the family business and “growing in wisdom and in knowledge and in favor with God and man.” Perhaps you remember even at Cana of Galilee when His mother encouraged Him to step in and solve the wine issue, Jesus quickly told her His time was not at hand. Christmas and the entirety of Jesus’ life was clearly marked by patience.
My suspicion is that patience is a rare quality among church starters. In my experience, I expect things to happen quickly. I want to see the crowd multiply sooner rather than later, leaders to develop instantaneously and the worship center to be perfect NOW. I have a vision and God needs to bring it to reality YESTERDAY.
But, that’s just me. I’m sure that the majority of you are exercising extraordinary patience. Undoubtedly, you are waiting for God to move you and your young congregation in His time and in His way. I’m learning that patience is more than a virtue, it’s absolutely necessary. So step back, take a deep breath, slow down and rejoice in your victories. Patience is one of the most important lessons of Christmas. So….start practicing it….NOW!
Pastor Todd Toole