Week 1 of Advent: Preparation

Let’s say that the CEO of your corporation, whose home office is in another city, informed your boss that he would be coming to your office, but he was not sure which day he would be there. There would be a mixture of feelings that could include excitement, dread, fear, and nervousness. Maybe some would be afraid that he was coming to close your office down. Others might be excited because they’ve had the opportunity to meet him and he is a really good guy with a great sense of humor. Others might have a “wait and see” kind of attitude. Regardless of how staff feel, everyone would be on the alert and busy getting ready for his coming. Each day that went by people would constantly have their eye on the door watching for his arrival.

Now let’s say that months went by and the CEO still hadn’t come. Perhaps staff begin to stop looking for him and all the preparations that were made begin to go back to how things were before. They’d stop keeping an eye on the door and parking lot and then when they least expect it – he arrives. This is how it is with Jesus’s coming – both at his incarnation and for his second coming. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:42:

Therefore be alert, since you don’t
know what day your Lord is coming

When you least expect it

When we expect someone important to arrive, we clean the house. We’re on our best behavior. We invite others to the big event. But when we don’t know when that person is coming, we slack off and we end up caught unawares. Then when we least expect it they show up and they catch as we truly are.

On the alert for the Messiah

Since Adam and Eve sinned, God said He would make a way for redemption and it was eagerly anticipated. From the time Isaiah prophesied about the coming Messiah, it would still be another 600 years before Jesus was born. When Jesus did arrive, He was nothing like what the people had conceived in their minds that the Messiah would be. So they dismissed Him as their long awaited for and anticipated Messiah.

The people were expecting a majestic king, not a lowly baby in a manger. They expected a great military leader, not a kind and gentle miracle worker. Whatever picture they had in their minds about the Messiah – Jesus didn’t measure up to the image they had created. However, had they truly studied the Scriptures, they would have seen that the Messiah was living among them.

On the alert for His second coming

Now, centuries later, we’ve fallen into the same expectation – or rather lack of expectation. Even Paul and the other disciples expected Jesus to return any day following His ascension into Heaven. But Jesus hasn’t returned yet and we’ve lost the expectation of His return. We are not on the alert – watching for His return. We live the way we want to and many of us are going to be caught unaware. What will you be doing the moment Jesus returns? Will you be ashamed or joyful? Will you be ready or left behind?

Be alert: We don’t know when He is coming

The people did not know when He would arrive at His birth and we today do not know when He will come again. In fact, the Bible tells us that even Jesus doesn’t know the moment when He will return again. Only God knows and Jesus simply waits for God to say, “Go get my children.” But since we do not know when He is coming, we need to be living on the alert, watching for His return. Since we don’t know when He will return for us, we need to live every moment as if He is coming in the next moment. If He came today, are you ready?


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