This Christmas Be Watchful, Be Alert

Waiting is a big part of life and is certainly the story of our faith as well. So here we are, two thousand years removed from the grandiose-quaking and breath-taking moment of incarnation, and we are still waiting, not on the arrival of Jesus as a baby but as eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Word made flesh, promising His words are trustworthy and true, brings about an important aspect of waiting: trust.

As we wait, we are tested in trust. The reason we are not good at waiting, perhaps is because we may not be so good at trusting. Waiting and trusting go hand in hand. Waiting calls on us to trust the promise that what we wait for will come to pass, and that the one who makes the promise is trustworthy and worthy of our waiting. This time reminds us that God’s promises are kept by the Holy Spirit. Advent reminds us that God’s promises are “enfleshed” in Jesus Christ. Advent reminds us that the future is secure and worth waiting for.

We are given these four weeks each year to get ready for the coming of Christ, but what does that mean? 

We know Jesus likely wasn’t born on December 25, but the world chose this day to celebrate His birth, and also chose a day, usually in April, to celebrate His resurrection.

While we may not know the exact dates, we can still celebrate His birth and resurrection with reverence, giving the Glory to God, His Son, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit.

This is not only a reminder and celebration of Christ’s birth, but offers a special focus on preparing for the second coming of Christ. There is a day coming when what God promised long ago, then “enfleshed” through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, will be brought to final completion and fulfillment. This is the waiting edge of before each Christmas.

For many people, this means checking off a list of presents we need to buy for family and friends. For some, it means going into debt.

What does this have to do with preparing for Christ?

For thousands of years the people prepared and watched for the Messiah. What were they looking for? Their idea of a Messiah was of a powerful king and so they missed the signs that pointed to Jesus. 

We, too, can miss the signs of the presence of Christ among us. Christmas celebrates the fact that Jesus came, lived his life as a model for us, died for us to save us from the punishment of our sins.

And then…Jesus rose from the dead so that we would know of our salvation and the love of God that promises forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. We can best prepare for Christmas by celebrating this reality every day. 

Advent is a time for us to think about this great gift and ask ourselves how we are preparing to meet Him when He comes again. If we put all our energies into shopping, we are missing the mark.

Just as we are Easter people, living with a sense of joy in our salvation, we are Christmas people, welcoming Christ into our world each day in the people we meet, in the circumstances where we find ourselves. 

In the story of the Fourth Wiseman, the hero falls behind in his search for the newborn king because he stops and helps people in need for thirty-three years and finally meets him at the foot of the cross on Calvary.

He then realizes that he has “met” Christ in all the people he helped over those years.

This Christmas season, let’s be alert and watchful and recognize the signs that Christ is among us.

Until that day comes, may our lives-lived in and lived out of the death and resurrection of Christ-be the living and breathing witness.

Gracious God, be with us as we begin our preparations to celebrate the birth of your Son, Jesus. Keep our focus on the true meaning of Christmas and be watchful so that we might recognize opportunities to find Christ in the faces of those who suffer from loneliness or depression and reach out to them with compassion and love. Amen.


In God We Trust

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