Advent: December 4

Gospel: Mark 13:24–37

“At that time, after the anguish of those days,

 the sun will be darkened,
    the moon will give no light,
 the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!

“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!” (NLT)

When we invite our two young grandchildren to our home for a sleepover, excitement abounds and the countdown to the big event begins.

As grandparents, we clear a spot on our calendar, stock up on sweet treats, plan a fun activity, and expect to watch their movie of choice in our pajamas. Without fail, fresh whipped cream will be on the breakfast menu.

For the kiddos, the sleepover becomes a near round-the-clock topic of conversation. Special toys will be carted to our house in their backpacks, along with pictures they have painted for display on our refrigerator.

Meanwhile, our son and daughter-in-law are giddy about their upcoming free evening and the prospect of sleeping in.

For all involved, enthusiastic preparations are underway!

The season of Advent resounds with invitations for us. As we count down the days to Christmas, Advent invites us to reflect on the wondrous events surrounding the birth of Christ, to experience what can be a familiar story anew.

Advent also invites us to remember that Jesus is coming again. Its daily practices and rhythms remind us that we are to live in a posture of excited expectation, prepared for Christ’s return.

How are you positioning yourself this Advent to reflect and remember?

What does it look like for you personally to be prepared for Christ’s second coming?

Meg Kempton – Groups Coordinator at Grace Community Church in Detroit, Michigan