Jesus said to the disciples, "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, 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 Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner 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 unexpected hour." Matthew 24:36-44
I have a long night ahead of me on this first Sunday of Advent. I am sitting in the Anchorage airport waiting on the next flight that will load after midnight. It seems that I am often red-eyeing when I travel to the lower 48. Staying awake can be a problem as can finding a comfortable place to wait in the airport. It is the modern human condition, wanting to be safe and warm while on the move, while being alert and on top of it all.
Jesus tells his disciples of their need to be awake and aware. In this season of preparation, as we balance between the first coming of Christ in Bethlehem and his anticipated return, we are always caught in this human condition. Wanting our old familiar safe and warm, while wanting to have the best ever holiday, the most robust returns...We want it all and God invites is to take time to focus and to stay awake and alert for the presence of God in the here and now.
Today, as the day folds into the deep night and the travel extends over miles and days, may I be awake and alert to God's presence with me in the most unlikely places. May we set aside the busyness and watch and wait, knowing that God is hovering nearby, always drawing close. May we listen and lean in, keeping our hearts open for the rustle of love in the wind.
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.