Grow Deep - The Excellent Encounter Edition Week 2

Week 2: December 8 – 14

Wait With Eager Anticipation

Memory Verse: “Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13

I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my family this year. However, with adult children who live out of state and have complicated schedules, I don’t yet know the day or the hour we will get together. It may be a few days before or even weeks after the actual holiday, and I probably won’t get much advance notice of the plan. Therefore, I make sure I’m prepared in advance for any scenario and wait with eagerness. While I wait, I get to enjoy the various festivities, worship, and service opportunities available throughout the season in my own neck of the woods.

I have come to realize that uncertainty is the reality of this time period in my life. While it may sound stressful, the anticipation is exciting and keeps me focused on what is important. It also reminds me to focus on Jesus, the real reason we celebrate. I eagerly anticipate the day when Jesus will come again and take us to Heaven, where we will feast at His table in our eternal home. Of course, I don’t know the day or the hour He will come, but while I wait, I know I need to prepare. And that preparation is exciting in itself. Every day brings opportunity to worship God, serve Him and my neighbors, engage my community, enjoy the blessings of this life and use them to His glory. So, as Christians, we await each day with eager anticipation, not only for our ultimate gathering in Heaven, but also for each day Jesus gives us on earth to live as His disciples.

Sunday, December 8
Read: John 1:1-9
We anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus—the true Light, the Light of the World—who comes to earth to dispel the darkness. We also wait eagerly for His return.
Reflect: Where do you see Jesus’ light shine in your life? How is His light shining through you to others?

Monday, December 9
Read: Matthew 24:36-44
We wait with eager anticipation because we do not know the day or the hour of Christ’s return.
Reflect: We do not know when Jesus will come again. How are you preparing while you wait? What opportunities do you have in this season to serve Jesus and tell others about Him?

Tuesday, December 10
Read: Matthew 25:1-13
We wait for the return of Jesus in the same way the Israelites waited for the birth of Jesus, with eager anticipation as though we are waiting for the wedding feast (with all the fear of missing out and all the joy of the anticipated feast).
Reflect: It’s hard to be drowsy when you’re anticipating something exciting. How can the Church (bride of Christ) stay alert and prepared until Jesus comes again?

Wednesday, December 11
Read: Hebrews 10:19-25
Our spiritual posture as we wait is to eagerly anticipate Christ’s return. While we wait, we are to persevere and encourage one another in faith.
Reflect: We can anticipate Jesus’ return with a posture of confidence and assurance. How can we encourage one another of our certain hope of eternal life?

Thursday, December 12
Read: 1 John 2:28-3:3
We wait eagerly for Jesus’ return because we abide in Christ and are therefore children of God with a clear and certain future.
Reflect: We are children of God and heirs of His promise in Jesus. How can we anticipate our inheritance with child-like faith? How does that impact how we live today?

Friday, December 13
Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (5:1-11)
The Apostle Paul gives us a description of that for which we wait. It is something that will come unexpectedly; but once here, cannot be missed.
Reflect: The promise of Jesus’ return will become a reality. It will come unexpectedly, yet unmistakably. What things help you eagerly anticipate Jesus’ return? What influences tempt you to be complacent?

Saturday, December 14
Read: Revelation 21:1-18
John gives us the best picture we have in Scripture of what we have been eagerly anticipating.
Reflect: How do these verses inspire your faith and Christian walk today? How do verses 9-14 specifically point you to the Holy Light of Christ?