“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
“Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
I like Advent season, because it is a bit of a prolonged time before Christmas, of waiting. It is anticipatory in nature, and humbling in that there’s nothing we can do in a way, except wait. What is intimated in that is preparation. We are called always to be on the watch and in prayer so that when God’s hidden work in Jesus becomes public, we will be participants in that event, having been previously engaged in that hidden work.
Left to ourselves and life in this present world, we will resort or naturally fall back into other practices, some a part of a broken humanity, and others actually to some extent necessary. We are told in the passage to be careful, lest we be weighed down with any of this, wanting to avoid the evil and steward well whatever is necessary or good in its place.
We do this no matter what else we have to do. We keep on keeping on in Advent hope, awaiting the fulfillment of God’s promise in Jesus for each day, even as we anticipate the Day when that fulfillment is made complete, not only for us, but for the world. We seek to keep our focus, so that the hope we have is always part and parcel to our lives in and through Jesus.