‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’
Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’
"Be alert!" today's passage tells us. It's an interesting thing to tell us because, at first glance, we appear to be rather good at doing just that.
"Be alert!" is the narrative we hear each and every day on the television screen and the newspaper page. Be alert about the latest ISIS incident! Be alert about the latest school shooting! Be alert about Friday's shooting in Colorado Springs! Be alert about the latest unhealthy habits!
Now, don't get me wrong, each of these things is very important to be aware of. However, the season of Advent calls us to be alert for something bigger, something greater, something hopeful and good.
On this 1st Sunday in Advent - Year C, as we wait yet again for the coming of our Lord and Savior, things might get a little dicey, Luke 21:25-36 tells us. What is coming is not what this world expects. What is coming is not what we might envision as "proper" or "logical" or "smart." The savior of the world coming as a helpless little infant?! You've got to be kidding me!
And yet, God's foolishness is God's wisdom as we are called to "be on guard" because "our redemption is drawing near."
So, step one for the season of Advent is the same as it always has been and, hopefully, always will be: be alert! Look out for the small ways in your life that the newness of Christ will appear in the coming weeks as we prepare for the Christ-event that we celebrate as Christmas. Who knows? Maybe a moment when you are tempted to be frustrated can be turned into a moment of divine revelation. Maybe that person you've never been very crazy about can be a vehicle for a nugget of God's truth? Perhaps trying out something different, something that takes you out of your comfort zone, might just open up a space where God's redemption can cradle you?
-Prayer of the Day:
God of Continuing Newness,
send your Spirit to keep me alert this day
that I might be aware of your presence in my life
and your steadfast love in my heart. Amen.