Keep Awake!

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Matthew 24:36-44

Concerning that day and hour no one knows . . . but the Father. (v. 36)

Christ has come once and Christ will come again. The Apostles’ Creed reminds us of this truth: he who was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary” will come again “to judge the living and the dead.”

According to Matthew’s Gospel, shortly before Jesus goes away he tells his followers to keep awake and be ready because he will come back. Because we take Jesus at his word we recognize that we live between two advents, two comings. Jesus’ first coming anticipates his second. Advent and Christmas—those seasons of carol-singing and story-telling—mean much more than celebrating and marking God’s coming to earth as the babe who is the Savior of the world. They are also a time for recognizing that we live between two Advents.

We celebrate God’s inbreaking into history in the incarnation—in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. In so doing, we anticipate with expectant hope the full redemption of creation when Christ Jesus comes again in power. God is not finished yet; the candles we light at Christmas would be completely overshadowed by the devastation of earthquakes and tsunamis and the violence of war were it not for the hope and promise of our Lord’s coming again. That day will dawn with Christ’s shout of victory. It will usher in Christ’s reign of peace: where the lion lies with the lamb, where weapons of war become plough-shares of peace, where death will be swallowed up and every tear wiped away.

PRAYER

Holy Spirit, keep me alert for the coming of Jesus Christ.