I punched the button on the counter to let someone know that I needed help at the fabric counter of the big-box store. Soon, I heard someone coming — banging and clanging. When she rounded the corner, I saw why: she had numerous tools and electronic devices attached around her waist, all bouncing against each other. When I commented on them, she replied, “Yes, I want to be prepared for anything. I walk across this store many times a day, and I never know exactly what I’ll need. This is a big building, and I have what I need for almost any situation.”
She was a very efficient young woman. She whipped out scissors to cut my fabric, a device to scan the electronic code, a paper tag from a small printer, a straight pin to attach the tag, and a rubber band to hold it all together — all from the various pockets and devices hanging around her waist. I’m sure that she was a very valuable employee at that store, always prepared for anything.
Advent (from Latin advenire “to arrive”) has twin themes: being prepared for the celebration of Christ’s first coming, and being prepared for His second coming.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” (Matthew 25:13 NKJV)
Matthew records Jesus’ parable of the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids. All of them have their lamps lit, but only five brought extra oil. The bridegroom finally arrives and the five foolish virgins are not prepared — their lamps are empty and they have no extra oil. While they rush out to buy more, the wedding begins and, despite their pleas when they return, the door is shut.
In this parable, Jesus warns believers to be prepared because we don’t know when Jesus, our Bridegroom, will return. We don’t need oil in lamps any more, so how do we prepare?
First, we need to make sure that we have invited Jesus into our hearts and lives to become our Lord and Saviour. Then, we need to live in such a way that “we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:28b ESV). Jesus warns us, “See that no one leads you astray. But be on your guard.” (Mark 13:5b,9a ESV) Peter warns us to humble ourselves, to cast all our anxieties on him, and to be watchful, for our “adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-8 ESV) We are to “stir up one another to love and good works … and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)
In other words, we are to live as though Christ’s return might be today — or even right this minute. We’re to keep telling others about Him. Mike Livingstone of Lifeway Christian Resources paraphrased, “Why are you standing there gazing into heaven? Jesus is coming back — so get busy!” (Acts 1:11) There’s our charge — what are we waiting for?
Prayer: Father, we want to be ready for Christ’s return, whenever that may be. Help each of us to live in such a way that others see Jesus in us, so much so that they, too, want to make sure that they are ready for that magnificent event. Amen.
Copyright © 2022, by Sharon Cook <firstname.lastname@example.org>, first published on the PresbyCan
Daily Devotional presbycan.ca
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA
Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author.