11-25-16 - Time to Wake Up!

The First Sunday of Advent usually falls on Thanksgiving weekend, and it's a rude awakening. Just as the triptofan-laden turkey feast is clearing our systems, here comes the word, “Wake up! Get ready! “Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

We may not know what the hour is, but St. Paul knew what time it is: “You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.” Some of us might relate to the rest of Paul’s comments too: “…let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” I don’t know if family quarrels or scarfing leftover stuffing qualify as “gratifying the desires of the flesh,” but be warned!

In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus also talks about eating and drinking – amid dire warnings of destruction: “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away; so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

These are not words of comfort. I confess I have always had trouble seeing the good news in Christ's impending return (though in the past two weeks I’ve glimpsed the appeal…). Today, just for the heck of it, let’s reflect on what might be good about Christ coming back to ring down the curtain and roll up the sidewalks on this earthly life of ours. Do you fear that, or anticipate it? What would you not mind parting with? What would you miss very much?

If contemplating the apocalypse is not your fancy today, here’s a more “here and now” question to ponder: what in your life do you think you need to wake up to? In what areas are you kind of snoozing, coasting, not really conscious, and you sense it’s time to become more aware and intentional? How might you become more focused in those areas?

One memorable Advent 5 o'clock service in Bethany, we placed alarm clocks all over set to go off at random times, just to reinforce the “wake up!” theme of the season. It was fun, as well as highly annoying.

For better or worse, life presents us plenty of alarm clocks, and we can rarely predict when they’ll buzz or clang. What’s waking you up lately? Don’t hit the snooze button…

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