Advent: December 9

Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8–15a

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.

And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.

And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. (NLT)

Young children have no concept of time. The child who knows that Christmas is coming goes to bed every night asking if tomorrow is Christmas and wakes up the next morning wondering if Christmas has arrived. Their excitement for the coming celebration can be interrupted by frustration when Christmas day never seems to arrive soon enough.

Like children at Christmas, we, as followers of Christ, must await his return without a full understanding of what time means to God. It is easy to get caught up wondering when Christ will return. There are always signs and events that feel like they are pointing to the fact his return is imminent. But if we spend too much time focusing on when God is going to fulfill his promise, the impatience and frustration of that mindset can distract us from living the life that God has called us to live while we are here. We can lose sight of the fact that God is not delaying, he is waiting patiently for his children to repent.

On the night Jesus was born, there were shepherds in the fields outside Bethlehem tending to flocks of sheep. In Luke 2, we read about how their normal evening was interrupted when an angel of the Lord appeared to announce the birth of the Messiah. When Christ returns it will be like his birth – a day like any other. His return will interrupt our normal routine. So let us adopt the attitude of a child at Christmas. Let us go to bed every night wondering if tomorrow will be the day. Let us wake up every morning anticipating that today will be the day. And as we cling to that anticipation, let us remember that every day we are given is an opportunity to join God on mission to give all of his children an opportunity to repent and be saved. We can choose to approach each day with joyful patience, confident that the promises of God will be fulfilled in His perfect time.

Take a few moments to reflect on living a peaceful life that is pure and blameless in God’s sight. How might that change the course of your day today?

Michelle Nation – Operations Director of Disciples Church in Folsom, California