For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Matthew 24: 37-39, 40
Sunday, December 1, started the Christian year and marks the beginning of Advent. Trying to think of what to say about that, I turned to the lectionary, that failsafe standby for seasonally appropriate passages from Scripture. The readings were on being prepared for the return of Christ. Happy thought… Thinking of how far removed from daily living Christ’s return seems got me to thinking, and I remember something that happened a couple of years ago.
Invited to some friends’ home for dinner, I stopped to pick up a bottle of wine for my hosts. Christmas music wended its way through the many shoppers, as we stood in long lines to make our purchases. When whatever song finished, the strains of “Silent Night” began, sung by that bastion of Christian witness, Willie Nelson. The irony struck me as funny to the point of giggling. Willie Nelson, an old, stoned, country-western hippie, was crooning “Silent Night” to this preacher and about twenty-five other people waiting in line to spend money at the liquor store. The worst part is the incongruency felt normal, even ordinary. What’s a little Willie and “Christ the Savior is born” while we stock our liquor cabinets?
We live easily in our world, striving and struggling, laughing and loving, and we have a little Christianity to go along with it. The rather tragic flaw in our thinking is that a little Christianity is akin to a vaccine. You know, when you get a vaccine and the practitioner warns you, you might have some of the symptoms of the illness for which you are being vaccinated? Just a little religion does that to us. We have enough to give us a few symptoms of Christianity, but we are inoculated against any serious case of it.
Jesus likened His return to the flood in the days of Noah. No one thought a flood likely, and they mocked Noah for building a boat. As we learned amid terrible devastation and chaos, ‘unlikely floods’ does not mean ‘no floods.’ What the Lord wants is for us to take Him seriously. His return in glory may or may not be imminent, but the love of God is unwavering and searching. He is calling you to Himself. God has drawn close to us in His Son, now He desires for us to draw close to Him. Through the Spirit, God wants to give us life – abundant life, so much life it will take eternity to live it.
I urge you to set an Advent goal for yourself, not more good work, not more studies, and not more donations. This year for Advent, give yourself the gift of waiting for Christ. There are plenty of opportunities for good works, donations, and studies, but more than all of these, we need Christ Himself. So, wait for Him. He is coming. He very well could return in glory to reign over heaven and earth, but even if His rule and dominion are not yet, He is returning for you, just as He returned to the Upper Room for Thomas after the Resurrection. You are that important to Him.
So, making waiting for the Son of Man your gift to yourself. Take seriously His call to you, His love is seeking you relentlessly. He doesn’t want to have a piece of our hearts, and His isn’t satisfied with a little Christianity in our lives. He wants all of us – all human beings, yes – but also all of every human being’s heart, mind, soul, and strength.
The odds are 100% that He is coming for you.
In Christ –
Elizabeth Moreau – © 2019