O Come. O, Come Emmanuel.
This was the longing of the Jewish heart that very first Christmas and it is the longing of the Christian heart today. He came once. Though we may forget it in all of our hustle and bustle, that is what this Christmas season is all about. But He is also coming again.
Before He ascended into heaven Christ promised that He would return and he warned his followers to keep watch, to be ready. Are we keeping watch? Are we ready?
I especially have to ask myself these questions this time of year. How ironic that this, the time when we honor Christ’s birth, is also the time of year that we are most liable to forget.
What does it mean to keep watch?
Matthew 24:42-51 says, “Watch therefore for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
For years I have wondered what it really means to keep watch. I imagined a man standing at his post keeping watch. Surely, I thought that cannot be what Jesus meant. After all, if that was what He meant none of us could ever sleep again!
Recently in a sermon, my pastor said that keeping watch is living with the end in mind. It is living every moment in light of the return of Christ.
In Matthew 24 Jesus gave us the parable of two servants. One lived with the return of his master in mind. He did his job and he was rewarded for it. The other however did not live with the return of his master in mind and thus he did not do his job and he was justly punished for it.
Which servant are we?
Are we, even and especially during this busy time of year, living every moment of our lives with the return of Christ in mind? Are we that faithful and wise servant or are we the evil servant?