1 Thessalonians 3.9-13
Christmas shopping? Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.
Christmas cards, last day for posting? Tomorrow, that’ll be fine, they will get there.
What about all those letters to friends I only ever write to at Christmas? What am I going to say? Oh, I’ll think of something tomorrow.
Yes, I’m too busy right now, I’ll do it all tomorrow.
But there’s rather a lot to do, I’m going to run out of tomorrows if I don’t get myself organised.
Run out of tomorrows … Surely not, there will always be a tomorrow … won’t there?
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
We have just heard that in the Gospel reading this morning. Is Jesus describing the day when there is no tomorrow?
The end of the world, Christmas cancelled? I’m not ready for that. I’m looking forward to Christmas. Christmas comes each year. Surely God can’t do this to us?
“Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Look Jesus, you are frightening me now. I’ve got everything planned, I’m not ready of course, but I know how I want things to be. I want carols and mince pies and mulled wine and friends and family and lots of music and presents and Christmas cards. A white Christmas this year too please, but only when everyone has safely got home to their families – we don’t want snow to disrupt all the travel plans.
Some people are completely ready of course and I’ve got no excuse really. The shops have been full of festive Christmas stuff since September. Christmas cakes have been made, puddings stirred. Come on God, don’t spoil our Christmas with all this end of the world stuff.
Wait a minute, let’s stop and think. There! The world didn’t end did it? But it was a close call for we are told that the world might end at any moment. Scientists tell us that an asteroid could hit the earth and wipe out all life – but it hasn’t … yet. The Bible is full of dire, apocalyptic predictions of the Day of Judgement and the earliest Christians believed that it would happen very soon. But two thousand years on and we might be getting a little more relaxed about the time-scale for the end of days.
Today it’s the start of Advent, a time of preparation and waiting. A Christian time when we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. In our OT reading from Jeremiah this morning, we heard that the Jews were waiting for the coming of the Messiah too. Jeremiah reminded the people of the promise God had made them that, “I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”
As Christians, we celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December each year. We watch each Sunday as another candle is lit on our Advent wreath and we get ready, keeping on watching and waiting.
It is all about getting our priorities right. Not getting too bogged down in things which gnaw away at our time and which, ultimately are of no use whatsoever. And along with all the festivities and fun and family holiday stuff, Santa Claus, the mince pies, the Christmas trees and decorations, let’s find some time to spend with the one whose birth started the whole celebration.
So, what are we waiting for? Summer’s over for another year and it’s Advent: time to get ready to meet God. We know God’s coming, but if we keep putting things off till tomorrow, we may just run out of tomorrows and we’ll never be ready.
On your marks … get set …
Lesley Shatwell 29/11/15