Put on the Armor of Light
Today is the first Sunday in the Season of Advent. We begin our four weeks of preparation for the birth of the Christ child. It is a time for spiritual reflection. It is a time of joyful anticipation.
Yet Advent begins, not with the first coming of Jesus, but with his second. The disciples of Jesus were questi0ning him about when thus would take place:
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)
Jesus answered them in today’s Gospel reading:
About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:36-39)
Jesus tells his disciples that there will be no certainty of the day and hour when he returns, but then he goes on to say that there will be another certainty:
Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner 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 unexpected hour.” (Matthew 24:40-44)
Therefore you also must be ready. What does that mean? What does it mean to us today?
The Apostle Peter was preaching at Pentecost:
Let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts:36)
His preaching led to a question:
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:37-38)
“What should we do?” This is the vital question. There are some practical elements to consider. When John the Baptist was preaching repentance the crowds asked him what they should do:
And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” (Luke 3:10-14)
The Apostle Paul peached to the Church in Rome:
You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:11-14)
Jesus made it clear what should be the foundation of our preparation:
Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:27-29)
To live in the light of Christ we must first believe in Christ. Advent is a time for us to expand our believing. It is a time to see more that just our small world around us. The light of Christ is coming. To prepare for his light we must seek that light.
God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah:
In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised above the hills;
all the nations shall stream to it.
Many peoples shall come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2-3)
Are we ready to put on the armor of light?