Ascension Lutheran Church

Calgary, AB

First Sunday in Advent

Matthew 24:36-44

[36] “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. [37] For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, [39] and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. [40] Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. [41] Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. [42] Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. [43] But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. [44] Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Church year and consists of the four Sundays before Christmas. One of the themes of Advent is readiness—being ready for the celebration of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem at Christmas, as well as being ready for Jesus’ second coming. The result being the texts for these four Sundays cover the importance of both events.

This text speaks to both the suddenness and unexpected nature of the Lord’s second coming—but also hints at how unprepared many were for his first coming.

If we are honest we know how we can struggle with readiness in our lives. For example, Christmas always comes on December 25, yet how many of us utter the words “I’m not ready for Christmas” every year, no matter how obvious its coming.

The readiness Jesus hopes for in each of us, though isn’t a matter of drawing up a ”to-do list” of godly things we then need to accomplish and check off. Rather it is something terribly simple, yet extremely challenging—keeping our focus on him and living in and live out the promises he’s made to us as his children. Not allowing ourselves to get distracted by the many and varied thing vying for our attention, but keeping the commandments to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves first and foremost in our minds, allowing them to guide our words and deeds.

As we do this, then we will truly be ready for Jesus—on Dec. 25 and at his second coming.