First Sunday of Advent – Mark 13:24-37
In those days, after that trouble…. stay alert!” (Mark 13:24a and 37b, CJB)
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the wait… Woah… WAIT… STOP!!!
Yes, I know many of us want to sing Christmas-time songs, well, because it is cold and… the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful… great, there I go again…
Okay, before we start singing about deer or men made of snow, let’s start over.
We have just read the Gospel lesson for the First Sunday of Advent… and in this lesson Christ has some harsh, profound and… well… confusing things to say about, well, about something that seems very far away.
In Advent we celebrate… and we prepare.
We celebrate, not just his birth (remembering also his death and resurrection), but we celebrate our active hope which “stays alert.”
Also, we prepare. We prepare, not just for celebrations of his birth (remembering his death and resurrection), but we prepare to greet him as we live into our active hope that he will one day return.
Yes, we prepare for Christ to return… not so much as a third-grader prepares his desk for “parent day” by throwing out all the trash, stacking all the graded papers (best ones at top) and organizing all his pencils… but as a parent waiting anxiously for her children’s grandparents to arrive for a visit… Which, come to think of it, isn’t so much different after all… the only difference being: when I was a child preparing my desk was out of fear and preparing my house is out of joyful anticipation… So, let me ask, above the din of Christmas music playing loudly all over the place: Are we ready?
Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come. By your merciful protection waken us to the threatening dangers of our sins, and keep us blameless until the coming of your new day, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!
– The Editors