November 30, 2014 – The Beginning from the End

November 30, 2014 – The Beginning from the End
Jim Abrams

Matthew 25:1-13

Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!

- Charles Wesley, 1758

Advent begins with the end in sight. Before we are invited to gather in worship around a manger, to remember the coming of God to us in Christ, we are first enjoined to prepare for his second coming in glory. The reason that God came to us in a Bethlehem stable was to redeem a fallen world. Advent is that season in the church year that declares that God's purpose for creation will not be ultimately frustrated. It focuses our expectation, and prompts us to ready ourselves in hopeful preparation for the fullness of that redemptive promise.

Today's text reminds us of the unexpected nature of his coming. It calls us to live in a constant state of watchful alertness because we do not know when the Lord will come. Like the five faithful virgins in Jesus' parable, our efforts are given to diligent preparation and hopeful expectation. Those who are found watching for the Bridegroom and are ready when he comes are gladly welcomed into the celebration. Those who are ill-prepared and found wanting when he arrives are turned away as strangers.

Are we ready for the unexpected return of the Lord? Upon his arrival will he find our lights burning bright and our hearts full of excitement, or have we let our lamps go out and our love grow cold through many seasons of silent waiting? Advent moves us to readdress our desire for his coming. It stirs the heart's deep longing for the promised redemption of the world. The nearness of the second coming motivates us to fill our lamps and shine our lights in preparation for redemption’s final act.

We open this season in glad anticipation of the unexpected coming of Christ. We welcome his return with ready hearts amid songs of Hallelujah. We at ‘Advent Longings’ are happy to join our hearts with yours in preparation for the long awaited arrival of Redemption’s Promise. We fill our lamps and shine our lights as we join the saints in the prayer of the early church, ‘maranatha’, - Come, Lord Jesus, Come. 

Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
- Matthew 25:13