I grew up in Seattle, where the threat of an earthquake was driven home by the drills we had at school, hiding under desks, head down, holding onto desk legs. At home, we had the essentials stored in our emergency kit up in the attic. Preparation is something at which some Americans excel. Our pantries are stocked with food. Flashlights with juiced up batteries are stashed strategically around the house, as well as candles, extra blankets, gallons of water, emergency phone numbers, lists of procedures.
Are we prepared when it really matters?
First century citizens in Judea weren’t prepared, in spite of the prophecies. A young virgin with child? Suspect. Later, those of Nazareth would question, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” They still hadn’t understood.
God fulfilled his promise to come once, and he will fulfill his promise to come again. The Father has promised to send his Son a second time, are we prepared for this final break-in? Because he has been faithful once, do we consider him faithful in the future?
Advent is a time of expectation and preparation – not just for the Christ-child, but for the Christ who is coming again. Advent may be only four weeks on the sacred calendar, but it’s really a year-long celebration. Think of what characterizes Advent – the waiting and receiving, the fulfillment of promise, and the faithfulness of God. Advent means coming.
Sometimes theologians refer to Christ’s second coming using the Greek term parousia. The term literally means, presence. Christ’s second coming will usher in the complete presence of Emmanuel, God with us. His presence will be final and absolute, with no boundaries, hesitations, or restrictions – with one caveat: His presence will be reserved for those who have confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Are you prepared?
“For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:37-39 (quoting from Habakkuk 2:3-4).
As you rush through Christmas Day and into the new year, be sure to keep the spirit of Advent strong in your hearts.