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Ready or Not, Here He Comes

“We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon.”

Jimmy Carter

Advent begins this Sunday and represents the four Sundays leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. Our family’s participation in Advent began when our kids were young. Each night we read a portion of Scripture and lit a candle. The purpose of Advent is to prepare our hearts in expectation of the King’s arrival, the incarnate God becoming man.

Last week I read Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the ten virgins. There were five wise virgins who kept enough oil in their jars so they wouldn’t run out when the bridegroom came. The other five virgins were foolish because they did not take any oil with them. At midnight while they were all asleep, the bridegroom came and those without oil had to go buy some. “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.” (Matt. 25:10)

Our hearts need to be ready for the Bridegroom’s return. It’s more important to have the oil in our lamps, the Holy Spirit to fill up our hearts, than to be busy doing things for God. Spiritual preparedness for our King’s return is a top priority just as keeping gas in our car, so we’re always ready to drive. Brides-to-be prepare for their wedding day by shopping for the perfect bridal gown. Having their hair, make-up and nails done are a few of the ways brides ready themselves for their bridegroom. Dreams and plans lead up to the day when she walks down the aisle to grasp the hand of her beloved groom. If all that time and money can be spent towards our earthly bridal preparations, how much more shall we prepare for our heavenly bridegroom’s return?

The first step in preparation is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Repenting of our sins and living independently from God, while seeking His forgiveness is the beginning to becoming a born again Christian. By faith we need to totally commit all that we are and have to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Like Advent, I daily prepare my heart in expectation of the King’s arrival. I start my day alone with Jesus, reading Scripture, praying and listening to His voice. Besides spiritual disciplines, I make myself ready for my bridegroom’s return by keeping short accounts and forgiving those who have offended me. Repentance, confessing my sin and turning back towards God is another way I prepare my heart for Jesus’ return.

I have no idea when Jesus will return. But this I do know: I want to be ready and have my heart close to God. May the Lord be able to say about us: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” (Revelations 19:7)

“The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never forget the presence of Christ.”

William Barclay

Relevant Reflections:

1. How can you prepare your heart for the arrival of baby Jesus this Christmas?

2. If Jesus returned this afternoon, would you be ready? If not, how can you get ready?

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