09 Dec Being Ready to Meet My Maker – 2nd Advent, December 04, 2022
Preacher: Bret Durrett
Advent…. SECOND Advent even. Where does the time go? Between making plans for the holidays, finishing anything left over that HAS to be done before year’s end, cooking, cleaning, baking (my personal favorite), decorating the house, getting a tree, writing (and mailing) Christmas cards, buying and wrapping presents… the list goes on and on…. We are all feeling the excitement, the anticipation…
And for what?
Advent is a season of preparation and anticipation but, again, I ask the same question –
What ARE we anticipating? For WHAT are we preparing?
John the Baptist, in our Gospel reading, is telling people to repent, to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of heaven and, in our Old Testament reading, Isaiah anticipates the coming of Christ into the world.
We prepare for the celebration of the birth of our Lord but what does that mean for us, as Christians?
I would propose that it means that we are preparing to meet our Maker. No, not in the morbid sense or as a threat when someone wants to cajole us into something – you have heard it said before I am sure – “Prepare to meet your Maker.” but that is NOT what I am talking about here.
No, what I am talking about when I refer to meeting our Maker, I’m talking about meeting our Lord face-to-face, in our lives here and now. By celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas Day, we are celebrating the coming of the Lord to us as humans, of being able to meet our Lord and Saviour face-to-face as a person, something that we humans can grasp, something we can conceive of, something we can identify with. God, the incomprehensible, the inconceivable, the unimaginable, came to humankind in mortal form in the body of Christ so that we might get to know God in person, face-to-face.
Now, I have to assume that the most common rebuttal to that is that Christ lived 2000 years ago so how can we meet Christ face-to-face in the here and now? How about simply taking a look around us? Christ is in the faces looking back at you, even from the most unexpected places and people. Where might we come face-to-face with Christ in our lives? The person sitting next to you here today? The dishevelled beggar trying to sell the “Streetworker” newspaper outside the supermarket? Yep, there is the face of Christ looking back at us. The ostensibly married parent dealing with 4 young kids and one adult who is at her wits’ end because her partner is neither capable or willing to help her with the adult responsibilities around the house and she is trying desperately to “keep it all together” for Christmas… Christ is looking back at us through her eyes. How about the guy who has taken care of his kids and grandkids to the point of raising them as his own children because of the love he has for them? The face of Christ is looking at each and every one of us in virtually everyone we meet. And today, we will meet Christ again in the face of Seraphim as she is baptized into the communion of the body of the church.
So, anticipation and preparation for the coming of Christ, the meeting of our Lord, is the theme of Advent.
How DOES one “get ready” for such a meeting? Do we dress up in our Sunday best, prepare a banquet and set the table with our finest china, polish the silver, and break out Grandma’s Crystal glasses that have so painstakingly stored in the cellar like a treasure? No, it’s nothing so exhausting. Anticipating the coming of Christ, being ready to meet our Maker is something that Christians focus on doing in our daily lives. It is about the small things that we do, each and every one of us. For us here at Christ the King, that may be serving on one of the committees or Teams, bringing in things to keep the Heimkehrer Patry stocked for the next person that needs it, taking the time to make Christmas cards with our youth. It is reflected in that one word that we often hear around this time of year from Martha – “Socks!” It is about loving one another wildly, recklessly, and without reservation.
In other words, being ready, anticipating meeting our Maker is to follow the loving example that Jesus set, even if it seems impractical or makes us look crazy. We just give it our best shot and leave the results up to God.
Being ready is trying to live a Jesus-shaped life. It’s not about worrying that you could die at any moment and face the wrath of your Maker. Neither is it being so pious and morally upright and uptight that nobody dares to be vulnerable with you like the “brood of vipers” that John so roundly castigated.
Being ready is doing our fumbling best to love God and to love our neighbor in the small things of our daily life and trusting that God will make something good and holy and beautiful through it.
Because, in being ready, in doing our fumbling best, we meet our Maker face-to-face in our daily lives as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.