Jenny, Arnold and Bernard

This blog post is based on an all-age sermon I preached about Jesus’ return on Advent Sunday 2022. The reading is Matthew 24:36-44.

Today (27th November), is Advent Sunday. It’s not quite time to start opening your advent calendar yet, but it is officially the start of Advent now. This is a season of waiting and preparing to celebrate Christmas – so, are you ready for Christmas? Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? Have you got your Christmas tree up yet?

For me, Advent is when the excitement really begins, and I can start looking forward to Christmas. The Christmas music can start, the lights can come out, and I know that I need to get organised. But our reading in Matthew also reminds us of something else that we need to be ready for.

Because at Christmas, we remember when Jesus came to earth as a tiny baby many years ago. But we are also looking forward to when Jesus comes back again. Now, we know when Christmas is. It’s on the same date every year, the 25th December. But we don’t know when Jesus will be coming back – in fact our reading told us that he will come when we don’t expect him to come.

So, how do we get ready for something when we don’t know when it’s going to happen. When we’re getting ready for Christmas, we know that we need have everything ready in 4 weeks’ time so we can plan – maybe we’ll buy our presents next week, then we will wrap them, maybe we’ll prepare some of the food a couple of days beforehand so that everything is ready for Christmas day.

How would we do that if we didn’t know when Christmas was going to be?

When we don’t know when something is going to happen, the best thing that we can do is to just always be ready. And this is the same when it comes to Jesus’ return. Because we don’t know whether he will return in one hour, one day, one year or many many years. So, just like the reading showed us, we need to be ready all the time.

And I think this is a little bit like having a baby. Since having baby Georgia, every time we leave the house with her – wherever we are going – we always have a bag packed. And it’s full of nappies and wipes and changes of clothes and snacks and cloths and toys and books and more changes of clothes and hats and socks and blankets and anything else that we can think of that we might need. And we take this with us everywhere to make sure that we are always ready for what she might need.

So, how do we make sure we are ready? Well first let’s get ready for Christmas – what do we need to get ready for Christmas?

We need tinsel and lights and a Christmas tree – to decorate! We need stockings and presents and wrapping paper. We need Christmas movies and music. And of course, we need Christmas food – pigs in blankets, boxes of chocolates, a yule log, roast potatoes and stuffing!

Great, so now we know how to get ready for Christmas. But how do we get ready for Jesus’ return? Well, there is no perfect formula or checklist that we need to tick off. Being ready for Jesus is something we have to keep working on. It’s about spending time with God and learning about him, through praying and reading the Bible. It’s about saying sorry to God when we do things wrong. It’s about praising and worshipping him. It’s about doing what he tells us to do – being obedient. It’s about caring for the people around us and sharing God’s love.

So, are you ready? Because we really don’t know when Jesus will return – it could be tomorrow, it could be next week, it could be in 50 years. So, let’s be ready for Jesus’ return – now.

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