Christ is returning. Since the Early Church, Christians have known this. But it has been so long, that sometimes we forget. Sometimes we get sidetracked by all that is going on in the world.
You know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.
Ask yourself: If Jesus came back today, how would He find you? What would you be doing when He returns? How should we live, if we know that He could return at any minute? Are you prepared?
Some of us avoid change and deadlines and such.
When I was a little girl, I hated to get ready for bed. Maybe I didn’t want the day to end. Maybe I didn’t want to miss anything. Whatever the reason, I lived in denial of the fact that time would run out on me.
Every night, I was supposed to have a bath, brush my teeth, and go to bed by certain time. And every night, I waited until the last possible second to get ready for bed. My pre-bedtime routine was scant, to say the least, and my kids never get bored by the stories.
For instance, if I was running late, I had a clever technique to trick my parents: I would splash water on myself, throw on my PJ’s and put some toothpaste on my tongue. I could get “ready for bed” in 30 seconds flat. The fact that I grew up to be a dental hygienist is an irony that never escapes me.
Unfortunately for me, my speedy routine didn’t always work. Even 30 seconds was too long, sometimes. I can remember watching Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley up to the very last minute, then running upstairs with my Daddy’s heavy footfalls on the steps, close behind me. I think I got a spanking almost every night, for two years straight. I know my parents were amazed at my consistency. Looking back, I am amazed at theirs.
Preparation and peace go hand in hand.
As a grown up, I do best when I prepare ahead. At night, I like to make sure the countertops are empty of mail, books, papers, and dishes before bed. I fold the throw blankets and put the pillows back in place on the sofa. When we wake in the morning, our home is neat and orderly (on most days).
If I need to go somewhere, I try to get ready early and leave myself 10 extra minutes for the kids to grab a snack or for me to find my phone. I have learned that I am more at peace, when I am better prepared.
Advent reminds me that, whatever chaos is looming large in the world, I can be at peace spiritually because I am prepared for the return of Jesus. Sometimes the wait seems too long. Sometimes the world seems too lost. Jesus knows how people tend to get discouraged, so He said:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
We don’t find peace as the world finds peace—we know that real peace only comes from knowing Jesus. Did you notice that the theme for this week builds on the theme from the last week?
Preparation and peace come when we are actively waiting, by living in hope.
Is Jesus the reason for your hope and peace? Are you prepared to meet Him? In spite of all the turmoil going on in the world, remember where your hope lies!
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