Not Yet, but Already

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

Imagine walking through your front door and inhaling the mouthwatering aroma of Christmas turkey roasting in the oven. You heard you were having a stuffed bird for holiday dinner, but now it’s here. Your “sniffer” tells you so.

Well…not quite. That drumstick will spend another hour in the oven before you lift it to your mouth. Dinner is not ready yet. It’s time…almost. Funny thing is, you didn’t know you were hungry before you walked into the house. The sweet aroma did it.

That’s the nature of things that “whet your appetite.” And this is why we look back at Jesus’ birth with such longing. We never knew how hungry we were for God until Jesus arrived. When He was delivered onto the stable straw, we caught the fragrance of the presence of God. We inhaled the aroma of “God with us” and became acutely aware of a hunger deep inside. We hardly had words for it, but it is a longing for the Lord.

For those who embrace the Savior in their heart’s stable, God has given the Spirit as a guarantee, a down payment, or more in line with turkey dinners, He has “whetted our appetite.” He is here within us; but He is still coming. His kingdom has arrived, but not in its fullness. And so we look back to the First Advent with warm pleasure…we cradle the Lord Jesus in our hearts…we breathe in the sweet-smelling savor of His presence…and treasure the time when soon, very son, we shall sit down with Him at the banquet.

Until then, we look back at Bethlehem, smile, and…thank Him for giving us a taste of glorious things to come. [1]

1. Excerpt from A Christmas Longing by Joni Eareckson Tada

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