"Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour," said Jesus.
The scriptures for Advent go against the grain of what we want Advent to be. We want warm, comforting, familiar--a pre-Christmas, with all the feeling of listening to the Christmas station and putting up the tree and lights early and settling in.
Especially this year. It’s been, nearly universally, a hard year. We truly need rest and safety and love.
The scriptures announce the coming salvation--the love, rest and safety we need--but almost like a drill sergeant jerking us awake at o’dark thirty. In these gospel readings, there are fearful dreams, serious doubt, a shout of “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” And this week, what seems like a threat delivered as if it’s promised good news: Christ will come like a thief in the night.
Cue the hot cocoa spit-take.
Advent is bracing because it is a wake up call. “Beware!” it seems to say. “The lights and trees and silent nights can put you to sleep!”
Take these scriptures seriously and, as you do, take inventory of your holiday traditions. Are they really waking you up to greater love and justice, to taking more responsibility for yourself and the world, to finding more joy and peace? Ask Jesus, “Lord, do I need a warm bath or a cold shower?”
Saint Paul Lutheran Church
715 South Third Street
Clinton, IA 52732
(at the foot of the south bridge)