On Sunday following worship we will set up the Dining Table Advent Wreath where as often as possible (behavior and energy levels permitting) our Advent meals will involve lighting that week’s candle and reading the Old and New Testament Advent texts. When Christmas morning arrives we want our family to have invested some real spiritual energy into the season. We want to remind ourselves daily that we are waiting for something...we want to introduce practices to one another that remind us to keep watch.
This Sunday’s gospel text has a very pointed reminder: “Keep awake therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming.” (Matthew 24:42) Keeping awake is a state of awareness. It is watching for all those places that Jesus might show up. It is going about the daily business of our lives while at the same time inserting a practice that makes ready a place in our spirits for Jesus’ grand interruptions. And interrupt he will to be sure. Un unexpected visit from a friend...a family member suddenly ill...a homeless man looking for assistance...a moment, image, glimpse, relationship that causes a shift in your thinking...a prayer answered, or unanswered...a shared meal...a burden lifted...a powerful worship experience...an “I love you” from your kid...an experience of suffering...a protest rally...a volunteer experience...How, when, and where, who knows? What I do know is that Jesus has a history of showing up in the tender and vulnerable places whether it’s the vulnerability of our broken hearts or in the hospital bed or at a “Black Lives Matter” rally and everything in between. Where suffering is present, joy is found, justice is pursued, and relationships are forged these are the places Jesus tends to show up. I want to be ready when he does. I want my eyes to be open so I don’t miss him or even worse confuse him for something or someone else. Surely you have heard that cheeky saying “Jesus is coming, look busy.” Might I suggest changing it up this year to “Jesus is coming, be ready.”
Come Sunday it is Advent. It is a time of Holy Wait. It is a time of living with expectation, or reading ourselves for Christ’s arrival in our hearts and in the world. Keep your eyes open. Watch. Jesus is coming. Be ready.