Keep Watch, But Also Be Ready
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:36-42)
Just a day before I wrote this reflection my wife, Tabatha, lost an uncle to COVID-19. It was a shock to everyone. When the symptoms started to affect his breathing he didn’t want to go to the hospital at all. He felt he would never come back to see everyone ever again. Everyone feared they would never see him as well. Reality set in. He died after a little over a week in the hospital. No one was prepared or ready for this.
We are living in a terrifying time, whether one realizes it or not. Many things have happened which are sudden, unexpected and we are unprepared, like the day of Noah. No one knows, and no one is ready for it… for the sudden separation of loved ones due to the pandemic and other health complications, or for the long isolation from family, or the unknown future that affects many aspects of our daily life. Our churches are not prepared to suspend worship; businesses don’t plan to close; parents and schools don’t like online learning; but these come suddenly and we are forced to adapt to survive. When we don’t know what is coming we can never be ready. Whether we adapt or not we may still suffer consequences. Such is how we are living today.
Now that we move to Advent and Christmas, how are we going to prepare and get ready or adapt? I know we will give gifts, listen to our favorite carols, go shopping, send out cards, attend churches… in-person or online, share, give, love and celebrate our own individual Christmas. But the future is unknown, we will also need to be ready for God, to meet God or to receive God into our life, not as a child, but as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords who comes to us. More than all others, Christmas is a time to prepare, watch and be ready for God. May we be ready if any sudden thing should happen, even the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, at any time.
Almighty God, my Lord and my King, I want to be ready for you, to do what you ask of me, to obey what you teach me, to live as you want me to live, and to love others as you have loved me. May I be ready to serve and to be your witness in such time as this… in this Christmas and all time. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.