Like many of you, my days this time of year are filled with activity. The workplace of Trinity is no different. We’re just coming off Candlelight, with its choral and instrumental musicians opening the season of Advent. I may not have paid a lot of attention growing up, because I am only now starting to understand what “Advent” is: a season of waiting, anticipating and hoping for the arrival of Jesus.
As we wait, we are told to keep alert, to stay awake so that we do not miss his entrance. Now, how could we miss the gigantic, spectacular, light-and-life-giving event that will be the return of Jesus Christ?? Well….. let’s think about that. The first time he came to earth, he came as a baby, born in a stable. And while there was a bright star, it doesn’t sound like the whole globe resonated with the news of his birth. No big parades or feasts were held. It was fairly easy for the baby to slip unobserved into the world and its people.
I am sure I would know how to behave if a shining , larger-than-life celebrity King appeared. But how would I react if I saw a ‘regular’ guy? If we didn’t get the cues that THIS is our Savior? What if we just acted the way we acted whenever we cross paths with a stranger? Hmmm… now that might give me pause. Am I always as friendly, kind, generous and gracious as I could be, when facing someone I don’t know? And what are the odds He arrives on my “best day?” Will I be looking sharp and feeling fine? Or might I be rushing from one meeting to another, trying to accomplish my long “to-do” list? Is there a chance I would just nod at the person approaching me, as I talked into my cell phone? Could I MISS Jesus???
These are the thoughts that glide through my mind at this time of year.
So, I am trying to remain alert and to stay awake. You never know when we might have the chance to smile into the eyes of Jesus or to offer him a Christmas cookie, or to make room for him on the pew beside us. If that baby from the manager was a tired toddler waiting in line with his mother, or a teenager in a dirty coat at Target or the slightly wild-eyed woman trying to ask you for some change in the parking lot--- would we recognize Jesus?
It’s so tempting sometimes to want to just come to a lovely church service and sit quietly and soak up the peace. But I think we are told to keep alert and to stay awake so that we don’t get too comfortable. Christianity (to me) isn’t about being comfortable. It’s about seeing Jesus, right now, in all the people he loves. He’s giving us the chance to love him through them. I hope I am up to the task.