My wife likes to tell the story of when they were little and on Christmas Eve they would eat and then open presents. Every year before they opened presents the adults would do all the dishes first. While the kids sat there, practically leaping out of their skin with anticipation, the adults slowly washed all the dishes by hand, wiped the counters, and put away the leftovers.
What kid with presents under the tree does not sit with anticipation as the time to open their presents gets close?
Why do they do this?
The joy they will receive from the gift they earnestly expect.
This is somewhat analogous of what the Bible calls “waiting on the Lord” – which is also commonly referred to as “hope”.
A kid at Christmas does not get distracted with “less important” things when moments away from present opening; after all, no kid has ever said, “hold on, I just realized I forgot to make my bed.”
In the same way, Christians are in eager anticipation of the return of Christ. There is something coming that they are very excited about, and that something is Glory. The Glory of Christ and the Glory of Eternal Life.
This earnest expectation, this hope, is not like “hoping for the GI Joe with the King Fu grip” at Christmas– this hope is a certainty of things not yet realized.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Psalm 25:5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
Psalm 25:21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!