November 27, First Sunday in Advent
Response: “Come soon, Lord Jesus.”
Scripture: Luke 21:25-36
“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”
Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”
Advent is a season of preparation, of looking forward to the future. For children it is as simple as counting the days until Christmas! The passage you just read is a conversation Jesus had with his disciples about anticipation. To give us a little context, Jesus had been talking with crowds of people at the Temple. The religious leaders were as usual challenging his authority and identity.
In this context, some of his disciples began talking about what an impressive building the Temple was. Jesus told them plainly that even the magnificent Temple would be destroyed. You see, Jesus was pointing beyond the material and physical things we can see. He was subtly telling them that God had a master plan for his creation. Naturally, they wanted to know when this would happen. The disciples were still viewing things from an earthly material perspective. Have you noticed that quite often God does not discuss with us the details of his working? He does not ask for our advice or opinion!
How often in looking at today’s world we adopt the mindset of these disciples. We look at the immediate surrounding events and physical circumstances and assume that we see the whole picture. We tense up, forgetting the Lord is in charge and is working out all things according to his will. (“. . . thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”)
Jesus’ word is certain. The birth of Jesus is not simply the end of Advent, but the cornerstone of the much bigger picture in God’s plan to restore all of his creation. Our part? Stay alert, watch, wait, and anticipate!
Music: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” Voces8
Gracious Father, as the sun rises tomorrow morning, as the beauty of the full moon appears again this month, as we look to the beginning of a new year, as we move through this decade and this century, forbid it Lord that we should forget these words of our Savior. May we be ever watchful in anticipation of your return. May we be steady in faith, repentant in heart, tender in soul, humble in spirit, and diligent in study. Though this world will most certainly pass away, your word abides eternally. Help us always to watch for the signs of your coming Kingdom and not get lost in the hype of this world. This we pray through Jesus Christ our coming King, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, world without end. Amen. ―Daniel Sharp