Are you ready for Christmas? That’s a question you will probably be asked a hundred times from now until Christmas Eve. I think it’s a good question. We, as members of a Christian community can take it in its purest sense: “Are we ready for the coming of Christ?”
After all, Christ’s coming is at the center of our celebration, and Christ’s coming is the determining factor in how we live our lives, not only his first coming which we celebrate yearly, but his second coming.
That is Peter’s message in 2 Peter 3:8-15, and in these verses he makes three observations about Christ’s coming that will ready US for the Advent season.
God’s watch keeps a different time. God doesn’t operate according to our time. God made time and stands outside it. That’s why a thousand years is as one day and one day is as a thousand years.
Our children used to ask, and now our grandchildren ask, “How long ’til Christmas?” I remember, as a child, it seemed like a thousand years between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But God works according to His watch, not ours! When Jesus arrived in a stable, the timing caught many people who were looking for the Messiah off guard. In believing, the first thing that we must remember is that God’s time is not our time! God made time and stands outside of it. That is why we are told “a thousand years is as a day and a day is as a thousand years”.
“How long till Christmas?” When Jesus arrived in a stable, the timing even caught those looking for the Messiah off guard. If Jesus had arrived when the Sennacherib had surrounded Jerusalem or when Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city and the people cried for a deliverer, God’s timing might be more easily understood.
But God runs on a different time. The advent of Jesus occurred at the precise time God decided, because God’s watch keeps the best time of all. His second coming will be according to that same timing, Not when we expect it, or when we think it is appropriate, but when God’s watch signals the hour, Jesus will come again.
Many of us, myself included, want Christmas to hurry up, we all know that officially, at least, it will not be here until December 25. Our tendency is impatience. From government bureaucracy to church committees, from the checkout line at Sam’s Club to the traffic on 28, we are an impatient people.
But God is a God of patience. Many people would like to see Christ’s second coming today. God waits, giving us the opportunity to respond to his love. Even in the life of Jesus’ life, God displayed patience. He allowed Jesus to be born as a baby, and waited thirty years for him to become the man we know as Christ.
Peter warns us that the second coming will catch many people off guard, “like a thief in the night”. Over the next weeks we will sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” but when he comes his arrival will still be unexpected.
As we ready for the calendar to signal the beginning of Advent on November 30th, transforming our Sanctuary and church with the trees, flowers and decorations of the year, gathering around the Table of the Lord to welcome the presence of Jesus into our lives and hear the question again and again “are you ready for Christmas?”
Take that question to a fuller meaning and let us ask ourselves “are we ready for the coming of Christ?”