Mondoville College has a tradition of a few years standing of creating daily devotionals for Advent, with a selection from Scripture, a brief meditation, and a prayer. As it happens, today marks the first day of our observance, and your genial host was picked to lead off this year’s devotionals. So without further ado:
“Know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.”
King James Version (KJV)
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.
33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
There’s an apocryphal Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” The joke, of course, is that the things the world finds interesting are often unpleasant, or at least uncomfortable. And it often seems that things are typically more interesting than we would like them to be.
In this passage from the Gospel, Christ speaks of the time before His return, with the sense that those times will be interesting indeed. Nature and nations will both be disturbed, we’re told, and as sure as the green shoots mark the coming of spring and summer, Jesus tells us those disturbances will mark His return, and that we should be ready when we see these signs. We should be on our toes – ready to move.
But as we’ve noted, it seems like nature and the nations of the world are always troubled, and it seems like we should be on our toes all the time. Too many times, too many people have even taken the signs they’ve seen as portents that the End is at hand. But what if we looked at it a little differently?
What if we take these signs not as warnings of the end, but as signs of a new beginning? What if Christ is telling us to be ready because He doesn’t want us to miss anything?
That’s what Advent is, of course – the preparation for the coming of the Lord – and it isn’t a time of dread, but one of celebration. Something wonderful is going to happen, and we won’t want to miss any of it. Get ready; stay ready. These are interesting times – but eventually, wonderful times will follow.
Heavenly Father, thank you for interesting times, and for the blessing that you have promised will follow. We don’t want to miss any of it. In the name of Christ, Amen.