The First Sunday of Advent

Sunday, November 27

Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  Matthew 24:42

Matthew urges us to keep awake. But why? Is it essential to our salvation that we not be sleeping when the Lord returns? We all know that sleep is healing, necessary for our day-to-day well-being. So why are told to stay awake?

This “awakeness” harkens me back to my teenage years when my father could not fall completely asleep until all of us were safely at home. It’s not that he sat awake waiting but that, knowing the dangers that exist in the world, he could not truly rest until we were under the protection of home. This is how God waits for us; not with fear but with anticipation.

The reality is, we do not know the moment of Jesus’ return will come, but Matthew points out the secret to living in this unknown: live the present moment well. Be aware of God in the here and now. Do His work now. Bring Advent light, anticipation, and joy, into each moment.

“Keeping awake” is an invitation to keep our eyes open, to recognize the signs of God’s presence in history and in our daily lives. It is an awareness of the needs of the world and an invitation to meet those needs as well as we are able, every moment, so people enveloped by a sense of darkness might find their way to the light.

Uncertainty about the when of Jesus’ coming should draw us into continuous expectation, prompt us to love others today and not tomorrow, forgive now and not later, face injustice wherever and whenever we encounter it, with justice. Every moment should be spent transforming the reality of this very moment — not just when we find time in our schedule – into God’s kingdom on earth.

Faithful God, who waits patiently for us to return to you, keep us awake to the needs of the world, that each day we live to your glory and the redemption of the world. Amen.

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