But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.
Matthew 24:36-41, ESV
The reference to Noah bothers me.
The being unaware part of the story.
That is the part that should catch our attention.
With the birth of Jesus, no one knew the hour, so they went on with their lives. Most people stopped looking, and you know what? I can’t really blame them. I think that’s what we would do. Waiting 400 years with nothing.
And now. It’s been over 2000 years, and here we are. Still waiting. Still wondering, and it’s getting harder to believe.
So, like in the days of Noah we’re unaware and distracted.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas and forget, go to sleep, numb ourselves.
But, Jesus gives us a couple things we can think about and do in the in-between time of his birth and his second coming, and they are something we can do this Christmas season that will keep hope alive.
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.
Matthew 24:42-43, ESV
An attentiveness, it’s not going to sleep, it’s staying alert to the coming of the Lord. Watching and waiting, looking for those places that Jesus intersects our eating and drinking, our day to day, the gifts that come in the middle of your night.
A word of encouragement from a random person on facebook…
An unexpected financial gift…
A random act of kindness shown to you by a complete stranger…
A prayer prayed over you at the prayer wall…
A conversation that brings hope to your soul…
All gifts are given, but we can miss them if we aren’t awake to the possibility of Jesus coming in those simple ways.
God, give us eyes to see, ears to hear, a heart awakened to the simple ways you reveal yourself to us this month…
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
It means to be prepared as in a fitness regime – I’m not going to ask you to go to the gym in December. Personally, I hate going to the gym.
But here’s the problem – if I don’t work out, my body isn’t going to be ready when that moment comes in which I need my body to be prepared. To fight off an intruder, to climb a mountain, to get out of bed. But, Jesus isn’t talking about our physical bodies being ready, but our spirit bodies.
The longer we wait, the harder it is to see Jesus working, so just staying awake isn’t enough. We have to be ready.
I want you to stay awake this Christmas. I want your eyes to be opened when the gift of God’s presence invades your every day. Don’t go to sleep. You’re going to see a fat guy in a red costume, or you’re going to see the coming of Jesus in your everyday.
But don’t wait by sitting around. Be the miracle for someone else. Be ready to respond.
Let this be your prayer this week.
Everlasting God, we confess that we haven’t been watching. We haven’t been looking out for you. Like a thief in the night, you could pass us by, and we would never know. We have forgotten to look for you in the faces of our children, of the homeless around us, in the immigrants who struggle as they serve even us. Forgive us, we pray and make us ready to greet you in everyone we see on the street as we leave this place. Amen.