[Jesus said,]â€œThere will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On earth, nations will be afraid and confused because of the roar and fury of the sea. People will be so afraid they will faint, wondering what is happening to the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then people will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to happen, look up and hold your heads high, because the time when God will free you is near!â€ Â Â Â Â Luke 21:25-28 (NCV)
Lectionary texts: 1st Sunday of Advent â€“ Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalm 25:1-10, I Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36
Advent is the time in the Church calendar when we prepare for the coming of the Christ. We remember and read the passages in the Old Testament that remind us that the Messiah’s coming had been spoken for hundreds, no thousands, of years. Generations waited and watched for signs. And then He came in a manger, seen only by his earthly parents, a few farm animals and a handful of shepherds. I believe, my friends, that every day is Advent. Every day I am to be prepared for the Messiah to come, to return and take me home.
Jesus also said that we would not know the day or the hour that He would return, not even He knew that at the time He said it but only the Father knew (Acts 1:7). So why did He talk about â€œsignsâ€ if we would be unable to pinpoint the day and hour?
Nations and people are afraid now, even as I am writing this. Devastating acts of nature, wars, horrific acts of random violence, and our own choices to put ourselves and our own wants before our obedience to God make for a world that is a playground for its ruler, the Accuser, Satan. He attempts to influence us and drag us deeper into his world with this fear. We must keep ourselves focused, not on the â€œgiantsâ€ of this world, but on The One who is our Creator, Savior, Father, and Friend who loves us beyond our understanding. David defeated Goliath because he kept his focus on the living God (I Samuel 17). Elisha did not panic when faced with the vast Aramean army but kept his eyes on the chariots of fire that was with him in the LORD’s Army (II Kings 6). Job, described as righteous by God, was struck down with grief and disease. Even his wife counseled him to â€œcurse God and dieâ€ as that would be easier than going on living. But Job did not. He repented of trying to figure God out and humbled himself before God â€“ and God did not leave him but poured out His blessings on him (Job). Stephen was not frightened by those who threw stones to kill him but smiled into the face of Jesus and His Glory that beckoned him home (Acts 7). John was exiled on the island of Patmos but John wasn’t alone. Jesus was vividly with him. So vivid was Jesus that words failed John. He tried to tell us what he saw and heard but his words frequently included â€œit was like â€¦â€ (Revelation). John saw all of his fellow disciples murdered â€“ but he kept on the race he had been given.
Jesus is coming. The baby who came 2000 years ago is also the King who will return with His sword to separate good from evil. The next 4 weeks is an opportunity for me to establish a spiritual exercise routine that will build my spiritual muscles that will be needed in the coming days, weeks, or years â€“ however long until the Messiah returns or calls me home.
Daily reading in His Word and listening to His teaching.
Daily prayer of pouring out my heart and listening to His wise counsel.
Daily musical worship that is my personal type of intimate worship from my heart to His heart.
Daily encouragement to others as indicated by my LORD.
Daily rest, quiet, silence to hear and see my LORD.
People Get Ready written and sung by Crystal Lewis (1996)