When we were all younger, the few weeks before Christmas always seemed to last a lifetime. It was torture waiting for Christmas and the time for us to get our presents seemed to drag and drag and drag. Now that I am older - and procrastinate with Christmas shopping - I kind of dread the arrival of Christmas. When I see these Advent candles light up week after week, I get more anxious about the gifts I need to buy and the things I need to do before the big day.
But the reading we just heard reminds us that really, when it’s all said and done - the presents, the anxiety, the shopping doesn’t really matter. The word Advent means “coming.” Over the course of the these four weeks of Advent, we are waiting for the coming of Jesus - both at the end of time and at Christmas. The first few weeks of Advent are devoted to the end of the world when we believe Jesus Christ will come again and judge us all. The last week or so of Advent focuses on the marking of the first time Jesus came at Christmas 2,000 years ago.
And so during these four weeks we have the opportunity to really think about The End. We don’t know when it will happen but eventually this world will come to an end and we will rise from death (if we’re already dead) and live again forever with God.
Or will we.
We don’t know how our story will end. Will Jesus judge us worthy enough to live with Him forever or...well, we know the other option. That is why we must use the time we have on this Earth to prepare ourselves for The End. We must always be ready for that moment as we never know when it will come. Will it happen while we are at the dance tomorrow night? Will it happen when we are cheating on a test? Will it happen when we are gossiping about our friends? Will it happen when we are serving the poor? Will it happen while we are praying? Will it happen when we are spending time with our family?
In the end, nothing else matters but our relationship with Jesus Christ and our willingness to be like Him. Conspire with Jesus Christ and you will have life forever.