The “Pay Attention” list

Matthew 24:42-44 (Matthew 24 and 25)

42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

This Advent we are on a Journey.  Last week we choose to take the journey because of the HOPE that is promised us.  This second week in Advent we are invited to take the journey which promises peace! Very likely sometime in your life while going a long distance, you have been asked or have asked yourself, “Are we there yet?” We know it’s coming, the time of arrival is set…December 24th. We have Christ’s birth time and destination down perfectly – watch for the star, for Bethlehem, for the Baby in swaddling clothes lying in a manger! That’s how we travel through Advent.  But Advent is even more for us who believe. Matthew 24 brings us to another coming. Christ coming again in His final victory. However, this final victory does not have a time of arrival, at least not one that we know of (the Son of Man doesn’t even know!). So, maybe the question isn’t when do we end this journey but what are we doing to get us and others there?

So in this season, we have two journeys that can bring us peace. First to Bethlehem. But we have to decide if we are going to take the invitation to go on this journey.  I think of the shepherds tending their flocks by night in Luke 2 (this is a great read!!!).  The angels invited the shepherds to go to Bethlehem.  However, it was their choice whether to go or not.  We always have a choice! 

The second invitation on the journey takes preparation and our willingness to pay attention! People understand Jesus’ return in many ways: Some like a thief in the night; others on the clouds of glory and some, like me, believe that the Son has already come and we are living with Him, working out reign of God time! And when will that be?  If Jesus doesn’t know, how can the false prophets know?  Isn’t the better question, are we ready. In verse 44 Jesus says: You must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an unexpected hour. So what I am hearing is that in our everyday, Jesus calls us to pay attention. Unless we pay attention, we may miss the peace available to us because all we listen to and see is the ways of the world! Just look at us…caught up in every theory, news clip and hassle this world has to offer, and this is real stuff in our lives! This is not new news! Scholars affirm that many followers in Matthew were losing confidence. The coming Realm. The desire for Jesus to take hold of the craziness of the world was as alive then as it is now!

Advent is about anticipating something that is on the horizon, something greater than we can imagine on our own, something that speaks of God breaking in to the world we know. This season calls Cason to choose the way of peace amidst the chaos of the world! And that peace we have will influence those around us – imagine you influencing PEACE!  The Prince of Peace is our God! .

And so I take the advice of Rev. Janet Hunt:

1) Don’t lose sight of what matters most.

2) Know that it will all one day end in victory and that it’s ours for the taking. 

3) Live like that is so.

And, those days when I don’t live in peace that I know is mine because of the Christ Child who was resurrected and lives forever, I know that God is whispering grace in my heart and I can have peace all the same! Because I am loved by the Savior. 

Still we are called to paying attention lest we be taken by surprise! Will you Pay attention with me? Pay attention to Jesus.  Pay attention to who He is leading you to be and the relationship He is giving you. Pay attention to the moments where Jesus is most evident and ponder deeply where you don’t see Him so clearly.  God is doing great things in this world. How can you awaken your senses to notice goodness and peace? Will you pay attention to how God is using you in this Advent season? And how He is using you will lead you and others to the Christ Child?

Advent is a strange, double vision kind of season in which we look ahead as we look back and look back as we look ahead. It is a simultaneous celebration and anticipation. We celebrate the birth of a baby as we anticipate the return of a full grown, crucified, resurrected Messianic Son of Man.

Happy “First Week of Advent!”  I just love being your pastor!   Joy, joy – Pastor Alexis

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