2 Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death . . . 3 Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. +Revelation 3:2-3
“Wake up.” These words can come gently, as when I find myself waking up one of our children from sleep to start her day. Or sometimes they come urgently, as when Heather notices me getting sleepy at the wheel: “Wake up!” During this season of Advent, the Lord Jesus speaks to us in both tones as well.
“Wake up. Wake up to a world of wonder, a world filled with grace and peace, mercy and hope. It’s all around you, if you would or could only have the eyes of your heart opened to their presence, like a child is gently awakened to the wonder and beauty of a new day unfolding before her very eyes.
“Wake up!” You are heading directly into danger! You must snap out of it now or there will be dire consequences to your health and the health of those around you! Whether it’s the danger of crazy Christmas consumerism, complacency to the Christ-child who comes, cutting competition (three words: Christmas light displays), or some other December minefield, you’d better be alert or else you’re headed for a crash.
In each of these calls to wake up, there is a moment, as pregnant as Mary on December 24th with possibilities. The Bible calls it a kairos moment, sometimes translated as an “opportune” or “right” time. “At the right time, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6). “See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2). These wake up calls are an invitation to step off the maddening treadmill of life long enough to reflect on the patterns and moments of our lives and ask a very important question or two, such as why? Why am I behaving this way? Why does this always seem to happen? Or what? What might God want to teach me about myself and God’s world in this moment? Or how? How might my life as a Beloved Disciple Making Disciples be different moving forward? Our reflections than can move toward action, new and renewed actions motivated and directed by God’s Holy Spirit at work within us, bringing about deepened faith in Jesus and a more certain hope in God’s coming salvation or deliverance, both for us and the world God so loved that he gave us his only begotten Son.
As we move through this season, let’s keep our eyes and ears and hearts open for such moments, such signs. Some places that may be especially full (dare I say pregnant?) with hope include the Wednesday evening Advent vesper services, the Advent Small Groups where 35+ people are gathering in community to read and reflect and prepare for Christ’s coming, the “Joy of Christmas” gathering December 8th, our caroling outing to St. John homebound members December 22nd, and of course Christmas Eve worship at 4:00 p.m. (a repeat engagement of the “Meet Me at the Manger,” no-rehearsal children’s Christmas pageant we started last year) and 7:00 p.m. Through these and many other ways, may we “keep awake” to the possibilities of God’s salvation and healing reaching out still today to us. And may the end result, once again, be Christmas JOY. A Blessed Advent, all – and Merry Christmas, too!
In His Grip, Pastor Paul