Our Advent word for today is “watch.” While on a journey, it’s easy to get distracted by things that cross our path. If the goal is just to aimlessly wander along, that’s okay … like a road trip with no destination where the fun lies in what you discover along the way. But taking a journey implies a destination. In Advent, oneness with Christ is the goal of our journey and we need to keep our eyes
on the prize. Advent comes with lots of signs, designed to help us keep watchful.
Isaiah said that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son. The prophet Micah foretold that the birth would take place in Bethlehem. The shepherds were visited by angels. The wise men were led by a star. As for Jesus’s return, also known as the second coming, it is mentioned is 17 books of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, and in 23 of the 27 books of the New Testament. Chapter 24 of Matthew’s Gospel tells us even though there will be signs that the time of Jesus’s return is approaching, no one will know, or can predict, when it will happen. But Matthew is clear that when it does take place, no one will miss it. “The Arrival of the Son of Man isn’t something you go to see. He comes like swift lightning to you! … Following hard times, sun will fade out, moon cloud over, stars fall out of the sky, cosmic powers tremble. Then, the Arrival of the Son of Man! It will fill the skies—no one will miss it. Unready people all over the world, outsiders to the splendor and power, will raise a huge lament as they watch the Son of Man blazing out of heaven ... When you see all these things, you’ll know he’s at the door. Don’t take this lightly. I’m not just saying this for some future generation, but for all of you. This age continues until all these things take place. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won’t wear out. But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only God the Father knows … So, stay awake, alert. You have no idea what day your Master will show up. Be vigilant.” (The Message).
We watch by keeping focused on what Christ calls us to do. Love God. Love others. Hate injustice, oppression, and violence. Care for one another. As John Wesley said in his three simple rules of Methodism: “Do no harm. Do good. Stay in love with God.” Advent reminds us to stay watchful because the journey we are on will end when God says it will end – and not before.