Waiting for Christ: Are You Ready?

Every December I face the same challenge: taking Advent seriously while simultaneously keeping up with the rest of life. For the most part, I’m not proud of my record in meeting that challenge. The days when Christmas seemed to take forever to arrive are a distant memory, archived beside long school vacations and trusting Mom and Dad to handle all cooking and shopping and budgets. Now, I blink on December 23 and realize that with the exception of several extra errands, a few more pounds, some additional socializing, and the privilege of regularly hearing Christian music in public, the last few weeks have been no different from any other busy, stressful month.

Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this unless I had serious hope that this year’s Advent will be different. Still, I wonder how many people ever really get what I long for from the season: a daily hour of unbroken peace and joy; a consistently quiet spirit and sense of God’s presence; and a strangely warmed heart that knows how it really feels to trust in and eagerly anticipate Christ’s final coming.

When it comes to living in expectation of the Second Coming, I admit I don’t want to do it in what often seems to be the only way Christians in this society know: constant harping on how bad things are in the world; assumption that that constitutes undeniable proof the Second Coming is imminent; and a “save as many souls as possible first” focus that seems born more from desperation than from faith. Shouldn’t one be able to acknowledge it is equally possible that Jesus may return tomorrow or that He may delay for thousands more years, without choosing one or the other as a basis for orchestrating our lives? Are we more interested in telling Him to hurry up than in rejoicing in the certainty that He will come? Is our attitude toward the Second Coming like many children’s toward the celebration of the First: every day counting the days until we’ll be showered with goodies, and interested in the Gift-Giver primarily in terms of “if I’m good He’ll have to give me what I ask for”?

I’d be the last one to take Santa Claus out of Christmas, but I doubt that many kids have ever loved him for himself. He hardly gets a thought beyond “What will you bring me?” nor much of a thank-you for what he does. He’s just the guy who shows up to add a little extra fun to the season, then disappears until it’s time to repeat the same thing in the same way next year. Certainly no more than a shadow of the Christ Who offers the cherished gift of salvation to rich and poor alike, Who wants a year-round relationship far beyond “when I need You or want something,” and Whose Second Coming will be far different from the first and far more glorious than we can imagine.

All said and done, perhaps the best way to live in anticipation of Christ’s coming is to fill year-round everyday life with the quieter elements of Christmas: generosity to the needy, a smile for everyone we pass, hard work that finds more than adequate reward in seeing the joy it brings others, daily pauses to remember God’s greatness and His greatest Gift, increased awareness that He remains close to us at all times. Perhaps living like that would be a better New Year’s resolution than “lose weight” or even “volunteer at the food pantry.”

Wouldn’t God be pleased if we offered Him that way of life as our gift of gratitude?

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7 Comments

  1. janetanncollins

     /  December 4, 2015

    My book for kids, Secret Service Saint, is about Saint Nicholas and emphasizes Jesus’ instructions to do good deeds secretly. I hope it helps kids do what you suggest.

    Reply
  2. Oh, about that “few more pounds” mentioned in paragraph 1: this year I’ve actually LOST a pound since the week before Thanksgiving. Praying to keep the momentum going!

    Reply
  3. carol doyel

     /  December 4, 2015

    Ah beautiful Katherine! I think this is probably my favorite blog by you that I have read, very powerfully said. Can we share this on our site? I will pick out a lovely image to go with it and send you a link when it’s live. bless you for your continued perseverance to bring truth to the world! warmly,carol

    Date: Fri, 4 Dec 2015 10:38:53 +0000 To: clouisehome@msn.com

    Reply
  4. Jo Swank

     /  December 4, 2015

    Amen! Your second paragraph is my favorite. : )
    From Come Lord Jesus this morning….For I know that the highest purpose of my life is to have the light and peace of your prescence in me….

    Reply

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