“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into” (Jesus’ words from Matthew 24:43)
We are entering the season of Advent where we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Christ as a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem. It’s also a season where we traditionally acknowledge the fact that Christ continues to come to us in our everyday ordinary lives, and a time when we look forward to the second coming of Christ. It is a season, according to the above scripture, in which we are called to be awake, alert, and expectant because we don’t know when or how we will encounter Christ. According to the scripture, Christ’s coming to us will often be a surprise. It will come when we least expect it.
I remember once inviting a man by the name of Leroy to come to worship, and his response to me was “I think the roof would fall in if I came to church.” After hearing that, I was rather surprised to see about a month later this man actually walked through the doors of the church and came to worship with his whole family. The next Sunday he came and then the next Sunday he came, and eventually, I had the privilege of baptizing Leroy and his family. You see, like a thief in the night, when he least expected it, Christ came to Leroy and robbed him of his sense of guilt. This holy thief broke in and took his self-loathing and his sense of shame.
You know, maybe part of the good news of Advent is that Christ is staking out the joint and looking to break into our lives. You see, Christ wants to steal from us. He wants to steal whatever is keeping us from him. Like a thief in the middle of the night, he wants to steal our bitterness and resentments. He wants to steal our all too familiar focus on consumerism and consumption. He wants to take off with our compulsive eating, our love of money, our fears and our worries.
So, in light of this, here’s my suggestion for us this Advent season. Let’s make Advent lists. An Advent list would be kind of like Christmas lists, but instead of listing off things we want Santa to bring us, we could write down things we want Christ to break in and take from us. So, I invite you to prayerfully consider these things this season.
What needs to be on your Advent list? How does Christ need to break into your life like a thief in the night?
Looking forward to celebrating this Advent/Christmas season with you,