Matthew 24:36-44 is a vivid reminder that Advent is about Christ’s return. Whether I’m ready or not, He’s coming back. That isn’t about gloom and doom but rather about joy beyond anything I can imagine. The season of Advent leads to a celebration of Christmas. I used to wonder why Advent didn’t come after Christmas in the Christian calendar, but I see now that it’s important to think about my own readiness when it comes to Christ’s return. Listen to what the scriptures say.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” NASB
Folks have taken this scripture and twisted it into what they wanted it to be. The part about the Son not knowing was actually taken out at one point, and many have come up with a timeline and even an exact date when Christ will come. The not knowing is a vital part of this passage. If I knew, then I could do what I normally do and get ready right before He arrives. Live the way I want, do what I want, not mess with my mess until an hour or so before His gets here.
There is a commercial that comes to mind when I read this passage. A woman receives a formal invitation telling her that her heart attack will be arriving in two days. I’m not sure what I would do to get ready for a heart attack if I knew it was coming, but I think I would be more serious about my eating and exercise habits. Christ’s coming is a wonderful occasion, but would I change the way I live and love if I knew He was going to show up in two days? Of course I would!
When Christ enters my life, my world does end; and that’s a good thing. I no longer am alone. I’m loved in a way I cannot imagine. I have the beautiful assurance that no one can take me from God’s loving presence. When Christ comes back, many will not be prepared. It is sobering to think that not everyone will share in the love meant for each and every one of us. That humbles me in a way that makes me want to share His love more than ever before.
Christmas reminds me that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to dwell among and be one of us. It is love that defies description, and that is exactly why some refuse to believe and accept it. I pray that as I focus upon Christ’s return, I will be like a child at Christmas time waiting and watching and ready to be swept away by His amazing grace, peace, joy, and love. I also pray that I will invite others to have the same expectant joy and wait with me.
Our children and grandchildren watch and wait for Santa during this season of the year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they trusted us to give them what was good for them? Both my little granddaughters ask me to get them a toy Bolt, and both asked me to get one for her sister. I was touched that they thought of one another and immediately found two of the sweet super dogs and let them have them as soon as they arrived in the mail. I know that God also loves it when I ask for something for someone else. Tyler learned early on that he got much better presents when he let us decide. I wish I would truly trust God to give me what He knows is best for me.
I’m afraid I am like a spoiled child far too often when it comes to waiting and watching for God. Childlike wonder falls by the wayside and selfish wants invade my wait. I love this picture of little ones watching and waiting together for Santa. Unlike a child waiting for Santa Claus to come down a chimney, I don’t know when Christ is coming. I do, however, know that He loves me more than I can imagine. That fills me with expectant joy and makes me want to get ready to greet Him. My heart can be like these little ones if I live my life filled with eager anticipation, knowing that Christ is coming back and that it could be today!!