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The Gospel

Matthew 24:36-44

Jesus said to the disciples, “But 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. 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.”

The Sermon

What is Advent. What does the word Advent mean. Webster dictionary tells us it means the arrival or appearance of something. Here are a few examples: With the advent of the automobile transportation in the world changed. The advent of Jesus changed the way people thought of God.

This is the first week in Advent and it is a time when we do two things. We wait for the second coming of Christ and look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ. We once again had a lively discussion at bible study. There were several views. One view was that the second coming was already here and we are in the process of building the Kingdom of God. The thinking was that kingdoms do not suddenly magically appear but they evolve.

Others felt that what appears to be a fairly ominous reading should be looked at as a reminder that our task is to always love our God and our neighbor and not just try and time it right so that when the second coming does come we happen to be on good behavior.

I mentioned the story of my aunt Fern who was just sure that thistles would be out of her garden when the second coming took place regardless of how it affected the birds who built their nests out of the thistle down. I am not sure we should spend time worrying over the second coming and ensuing rapture. I believe our time is better spent worrying whether our neighbor has enough to eat and a roof over his or her head.

Now for the other aspect of Advent. This is the beginning of the Christmas season. It is a time when we look forward to the birth of Jesus. And ...this is the time when many of us lament the commercialization of Christmas. Our discussion Tuesday centered around finding or rediscovering the original meaning of the season. We celebrate the birth of Jesus and rejoice that through his birth we are born as well. We are born into a life of love for each other and a love for our God.

Advent is a time for reflection on who we are and what we are doing with our lives. I encourage you to set aside a time for prayer and when you pray listen. In those quiet times of prayer God will not only hear you but speak to you as well.

Helpful Prayer

Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room.
After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer.
"Fine", said the pleased mother. "If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you."

"Oh, I didn't ask Him to help me not misbehave," said Johnny. "I asked Him to help you put up with me."
There you have it. The Lord works in mysterious ways.


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