Advent 1 :: Stay Awake!

Matthew 24.36-44

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Adventide

So here we are again at the beginning of yet another year in the warp and woof of our liturgical life set out in the Church Calendar. And here we are again being reminded that someday, somehow, somewhere, the Day of the Lord [Second Coming of Christ, Judgement Day, Armageddon, the Apocalypse—take your pick] is going to happen. Well. Really? Really?

So it’s been two thousand years and there’s been no Rapture, no taking up of folks into the Heavenly Realm to be with Jesus, no great and terrible conflagration where all you-know-what breaks loose, no blood-red Moon or stars falling from the skies or planets losing their way in orbit. Nothing. Now, there has been that Great-and-Powerful-Day we call Black Friday with all its terrible display of human greed and economic lust. But that hardly suffices for a great day of judgement which is supposed to come from God. Black Friday is a Judgement Day of another kind altogether.

Yet here we are, on this First Sunday of Advent, hoping to hear something nice and happy about the season of hope and expectation and how it’s only 25 more days until Jesus is born and we must be patient in our waiting because the greatest gift of all is soon upon us, and what do we get? Warnings. “The end is coming so keep alert.” “Stay awake.” “Be ready.” Makes you want to break out singing a different version of that favorite Christmas song: “You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout I'm telling you why, the Son of Man is coming to town”!

Well, perhaps not.

Anyway. This does seem to be the gist of St. Matthew’s Gospel. Watchfulness. Being alert. Living in the present while being aware of a future hope to come. There is nothing of fear, or dread, or terror. Just a sense of understanding that on some day and at some time the fullness of God’s reign will be realized. Know this. Understand it. Live it. What took place two millennia ago inaugurated a new age for all creation.

Advent reminds us to hope for its fulfillment.


Link to RCL Lectionary for Advent 1, Year A

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