Advent season is here. We tend to think that this is a season to invite the Christ child into our hearts. The focus is on the baby who was born 2000 years ago. Certainly our hearts must always be filled with gratefulness for the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to die for us that we may have eternal life. Yet, this is not what the season of Advent is ultimately about. Advent is a time of preparation for the believer so that we might be found ready at the glorious second coming of Christ.
The second coming of Christ is something that we affirm in our creeds, and while taking part in the Lord’s Supper. But, do we really believe in the second coming of the Lord? Do we think of it?
In Romans 13:11-14, Apostle Paul gives two admonitions:
Paul says in verse 11, “… The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” He admonishes the Romans, and us, that we need to wake up from our spiritual slumber. For the Christian, the time of the Lord’s return is always at hand. Jesus told that his coming will be like that of a thief – unexpected. It means that our lives must be lived in constant expectation of the Lord’s coming. This is what the Parable of the Ten Maidens (Matthew 25:1-13) teaches us.
The paraphrased translation The Message puts it beautifully: “But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God” (Romans 13:11).
Paul says in verses 12-14 that the night is past and the day is coming. We must live in the day and not the night. The time to give up our sinful living, the time to ‘clean up’ is now. The apostle says earlier in Romans that we have died to the sinful habits of our old nature. We must not give any room for the works of the old nature. Paul says: “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14).
As we begin this advent season, we must examine our lives and repent of our sins. We must ask ourselves, “Do I want to be found doing what I am doing when the Lord returns?” John writes in I John 2:28: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.”
St. Stephen's celebrated its centenary on 26th December 1953 with much fanfare. Until then there had been no electric lights or fans. They were installed during this time.