Advent: Day 17

Daily Office Lections: Zechariah 2:1-13; Revelation 3:14-22; Matthew 24:32-44

Watch ye, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. Mark 13:35, 36

The above is one of the opening sentences for morning prayer during the season of Advent. We've been praying it daily as we've been going through the daily office together. It's a verse at the heart of Advent, and at the heart of the Christian life, and is consonant with what our Lord says in today's pericope:

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 24:42-44

We must stay awake and keep watch. To sleep is a euphemism for death. We can't live as though dead for we have been given life in Jesus Christ. We've been rescued from the domain of darkness and brought into to the kingdom of the Beloved Son. Therefore, we must walk accordingly, so that when the Lord returns, or we depart this life --- we are found faithful.

So how do we stay awake? By walking in the light. Bodily speaking, the light wakes us up, and the darkness puts us to sleep. The same is true in the spiritual life. If we walk in the light, beholding the Lord Jesus in prayer, scripture, sacrament, and service, then will we be awake. If we neglect the spiritual life and uncritically accept the spirit of the age, we will be lulled to sleep.

And while no man knows the hour of Christ's arrival to judge the quick and the dead, we do know that his arrival in the manger is just over a week away. So let us stay vigilant in this season of Advent, so that we may be ready to join the angels' song in the celebration of the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.