Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Learning from the Fig Tree
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:32-44
One would have to be a recluse closed in and totally unattached from any media not to know that Christmas is coming. The music is everywhere, and the TV shows remind us of the shortness of our time until the day. We watched A Christmas Carol last night the Alistair Sims version, which is my favorite and always puts me in the Christmas spirit. Sometimes, it is hard to remain in Advent, in the season of contemplation and preparation, when the whole world is celebrating and spending, it is hard to hold oneself to prayer, preparation and humility while lights blink insistently.
Jesus is helping his followers to understand that our lives are faith are not a constant celebration, and when things are tough and challenges overwhelm us we are not to see ourselves as abandoned but rather as surrounded by God's love. He wanted them to know that the terrors and tortures were coming and that these were not a sign of failure but a sign of God's love and presence in our lives. We are invited to understand that God is infinitely able to help us through all the times of our lives, no matter how overwhelmed we get.
Today I ask God to help me have a humble heart, to be unmoved by the anxiety and greed of this world and rather be caught up in the nearness and love of God that is present today. May my Advent be a time of readiness, making room in my heart for more love and service, making space for the holy spirit and the enemies that become friends. May we all open our hearts this season, as we prepare for a new incarnation of God's love in our lives.