Wow! December already?! Has it crept up on you?
Things often catch us off guard. We get wrapped up in day to day living and time slips by. Suddenly we arrive at a point we may not be prepared to face.
My eldest will celebrate her twenty-fourth birthday today. Twenty-four! A few years ago I wrote a similar piece when she turned eighteen. That was a milestone I had a hard time facing and now we’ve arrived at another – she is going to be married in July.
I’ve been expecting this for some time, but somehow I don’t think I really was prepared for those words, “Mom, I’m getting married!” I admit I'm not ready. My daughter is planning her wedding and her first day of kindergarten seems like yesterday. There are so many things I wanted to do with her, things I wanted to teach her, things I wanted to say, but now there just isn't enough time. She's an adult launching into the world to live her own life, and that's as it should be. But I can't help wishing she were only turning sixteen or fourteen. I can’t help wishing that she was still a little girl under our roof. That would give me time to get used to the idea that some day she'd be leaving. That would give me time to prepare ... or would it?
Somehow I suspect the day would still be a surprise, no matter how much it was delayed.
There is a day that has been delayed for centuries, according to scripture. When Jesus predicted his death, he also predicted his return. He tried to prepare his friends for his leaving, and tried to tell them to prepare for the day when he would come back. The words didn't sink in. When Jesus was arrested, they fled in terror. For hundreds of years since, preparations for his return have been sadly lacking.
In Matthew 24:44-51, Jesus tells a story about a master who leaves his house in the charge of a servant. He asks: "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household, to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns."
Who is that servant? It's you. It's me. Part of the preparation for the return of Christ is to care for those around us, both physically and spiritually. We will be accountable when Jesus returns. He ends his story with a warning: "But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, 'my master is staying away a long time,' and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The day will be a surprise, to all of us. It could be today. Are you ready?