November 26

Matthew 24:36-39

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” vs. 36

When Matthew wrote his gospel many believed that the end times were near. The armies of Rome had destroyed the temple and many believers were sure that Jesus would surely soon return. But as Matthew recounts Jesus’ words about the end he makes it clear that all we can know for sure is that God is. No one, not even Jesus, has any idea about the timing of the second coming. So in lieu of such knowledge we focus on the first coming, and through the Sundays of the church year we take time to consider the mission of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the season of Advent, a time to reflect on what the birth of Jesus means for believers. Some will be lighting candles on a wreath or trimming a Jesse tree. Choirs will be rehearsing for special concerts that mark these weeks before Christmas. Naturally the world pays little attention to Advent. For most the weeks after Thanksgiving are spent preparing for Christmas–a church holiday that has found new life in our consumer driven culture as a reimagining of the Roman mid-winter festival of Saturnalia, a time for merry-making and festivities. So it’ll take some discipline for people of faith to use these four weeks in a contemplative way. There are going to be a lot of distractions! But Christmas is all the sweeter when we remember to use Advent for meditation preparation.

Thought for the Day: How will I be preparing for Christmas?

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