Good Shepherd Lutheran

Are You Ready?
Christmas is a time of waiting, watching, and expectation. We wait for friends and family to arrive. We stay up late listening for the rumble of a car in the driveway, or the announcement of an airplane at the gate. Children try to keep droopy eyes open to see a jolly man in a red suit bringing the presents they’ve been waiting for. Staying awake and being ready is the theme of the season. That’s what Advent is all about.
Sometimes it seems like the vast majority of our lives are filled with waiting and preparation while only a fraction is filled with actual experience or doing stuff. Think about the Thanksgiving meal many of us enjoyed recently. How long did it take to prepare versus how long did it take to eat?
If we stop to think about it, we really shouldn’t be surprised that life is filled with so much more preparation and waiting rather than doing, because in some ways, the preparation is the doing. In fact, preparation, being awake and ready, is often the point.
Even our time here on earth is more about preparation for eternity in heaven than it is about what we accomplish or do here. In fact, the best use of our time on earth is preparing our hearts to become more like Jesus and to help other people get prepared to meet Him in heaven. The heart of the Old Testament is all about preparation for one moment: the birth of Jesus Christ.
Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Micah was inspired by God to look forward to His birth. In Micah 5:2, he wrote, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Advent is the perfect time for us to wait and prepare. Just as the prophets waited for Jesus’ first arrival, we wait and prepare for his Second Coming. In some ways, we know what Micah, Isaiah, Moses, and the many others who looked for Jesus, went through. Like them, we know Jesus is coming again, but we don’t know when. Like them, we need to prepare our hearts to receive and to grow in Him as we anticipate the day when we’ll meet Him face-to-face. We have to say awake. We must be ready.
That first Christmas was a rescue mission and the one who came to our rescue was Emmanuel—God with us. He was the one who had the power and authority to call down the angels of heaven. He was the Ancient One who humbled himself to become fully human in order to free the hostages who were being held captive by sin.
Because of Jesus, we’re no longer hostages. We’ve been rescued. And Jesus is rescue-ready for his return trip as well. The only question is, are we?