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First Sunday of Advent, November 29

Sally Benton

Mark 13:24-37


Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.


I find it a little easier to place myself at the beginning of this passage this year than I have in years past. This year we have all done more suffering as a community than we ever have before. The sun has not been darkened literally, but we have experienced a different kind of sorrow. And in this Advent season we acknowledge that sadness and despair, knowing that we await something bigger than any of us can imagine. We await the second coming of Christ.


This scripture reminds us that the coming of the Son of Man is not something that we can predict. We can’t make a plan for the return of Christ because we won’t know the day or hour when it will happen. We have faith, however, and that is why we must be prepared, but not in the way we typically think of preparation. Preparation looks differently in different contexts. You can try to be prepared for a pandemic with toilet paper, you can prepare for the Christmas season with a tree and decorations, but preparing for Christ takes an alertness and awakening of the heart.


How can you prepare your heart for the coming of Christ? Not the baby in a manger, though preparing for babies is a labor of its own, but for the second coming of Christ in power and glory. Keep awake to God at work in your life. Stay vigilant in your search for Christ, and bolster your heart with the power of the Holy Spirit.

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