“My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 (CSB)
Is there any more precise picture of expectation, hope and excitement than young children ready for bed on Christmas Eve?
When I was a child, every Christmas Eve my big brother and I would happily cooperate when taking our bubble baths and donning our plaid flannel pajamas. Then, we’d pile into our parents’ station wagon and cruise our hometown to look at the Christmas lights on display. We could hardly wait for this annual excursion.
One family had vintage stockings for all 10 of their children meticulously hung in their huge picture window. Local businesses also got in on the act with twinkling lights and larger-than-life Christmas characters smiling from atop their buildings.
My parents discovered this Christmas lights excursion served two purposes: First, it distracted us from our excitement for a while so our yuletide yikes could calm down a bit. Additionally, it completely tuckered us out so we would fall asleep in the back seat of the car. Then, they only needed to carry us to our beds so the visions of sugar plums could begin their annual dance as we slumbered, awaiting the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
In today’s key verse, the Apostle Paul voices his own, “I can hardly wait! How much longer?” sentiment. Philippians 1:20 states, “My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Paul describes this longing by calling it an eager expectation and hope. This great anticipation pertained to honoring Christ in his body, whether by life or by death, and living in such a way that Paul would not be ashamed of anything.
The particular Greek word that Paul used for expectation is an out-of-the-ordinary word. In fact, no one else in all of Scripture ever uses the word! It could be that Paul himself concocted and coined it. It is the word apokaradokia. Let’s break down this long and awkward-looking term.
In the Greek, apo means away from, separate, free from. The word kara means the head. Dokein means to look, spear or seem. When you crochet them all together, the word apokaradokia paints a picture of strained expectancy, anxious longing, or earnest expectation — an intense stare that causes one to look away from every lesser thing and fix their gaze on the only thing of true importance.
The one other time Paul used this exact word was in Romans 8:19: “For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed.” (CSB) There he applied the term directly to the anticipation of each believer receiving a unique, glorified body at Christ's return.
This intense longing for the return of Christ goes far beyond our childlike excitement each Christmas Eve as we anticipate the celebration of Christ's birth. It is riveted on the future glorious event of the Lord Jesus Christ’s return to earth one day. A day when finally, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, CSB).
I can hardly wait! Can you?
Father, may I eagerly anticipate the coming day when I will spend eternity with You in heaven. Until that time, grant me courage to live in a way that honors and glorifies You daily. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
Matthew 16:27, “For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each according to what he has done.” (CSB)
Isaiah 9:6-7, “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.” (CSB)
Christmas is right around the corner! Finish up your shopping list with meaningful gifts from our Christmas Collection. The last day for guaranteed shipping is December 14! Start shopping.
For more on living for Christ here on earth as we prepare for eternity with Him one day, check out Karen Ehman’s Bible study on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, What Matters Most.
It’s party time! You are invited to Karen's blog, where she’s kicking off her 12th annual 12 Days of Christmas giveaways, including creative ideas and fabulous prizes. Join in the fun by clicking here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND
How would you describe your excitement about serving Christ here on earth, sharing the gospel with others as you do? Think of a one-word answer. Bursting? Passionate? Mild? Lukewarm? What might you need to do in order to see your passion for this grow? Let us hear from you!
© 2019 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.