Good Shepherd Lutheran

Are We Ready?
Christmas is a time of waiting, watching, and expectation. We wait for our friends and family to arrive. We try to stay awake listening for the rumble of a car in the driveway, or the announcement of an airplane at the airport gate. Children try to keep droopy eyes open to see a jolly man in a red suit bringing the presents. Staying awake and being ready is the theme of the season.
Sometimes it seems like the largest part of our lives is filled with waiting and preparation, while only a fraction is filled with actually doing stuff. Consider the Thanksgiving meal many of us recently enjoyed. How long did it take to prepare it? How long did it take us to eat it?
When we stop to think about it, we really shouldn’t be surprised that life is filled with so much more preparation and waiting than doing, because in some ways, the preparation is the doing. That preparation, being awake and ready, is often the point.
Even our short time here on earth is more about preparation for eternity in heaven than it is about what we actually accomplish here. In fact, the best use of our time on earth is preparing our hearts to become more like Jesus and helping other people get prepared to meet Jesus in heaven. The heart of the Old Testament is all about preparation for one moment. That moment is 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. 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 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 grow in Him now 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 all of the angels of heaven. The Ancient One who humbled Himself to become fully human in order to free the hostages who were being held captive by sin.
But because of Jesus, we’re no longer hostages. We’ve been rescued. And Jesus is ready for His return trip to rescue us as well. The only question is, are we ready?