And (Jesus) told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Luke 21:29-33 (ESV)
When I was a kid growing up in the cold, Saskatchewan winters, I would build snow huts and have snowball wars with friends. Sometimes, we ran around the reservation and pulled sneak attacks on each other. Other times, we pulled “guard duty,” holding down the fort. But we didn’t just sit there. We spent our time in preparation, making snowballs to be ready for the next battle.
Advent is not just about waiting for Christmas. Traditionally, the season of Advent has been a time for the Church to prepare for the coming of Jesus. We recall how Israel anticipated the first coming of the Messiah, and we remember that we still await His return.
Jesus’ words in Luke 21 have often been debated. Many believers have tried to decode the signs of Christ’s return, looking to world events as a sign that His return is near. But Jesus is clear: No one knows the day or hour of His return (Matthew 24:36). What is more important is our conviction, preparation, and readiness.
“Be on guard,” Jesus says. Not only so that we don’t miss His coming, but for our own good! Jesus knows that life is challenging enough and can be discouraging. Our self-medications and addictions only bring despair. Jesus wants to free us from all that. So be on guard. Be alert. The Kingdom of God is near!
We should live like trees. Trees are already growing and already alive with the power of the Kingdom, showing signs of vitality and bearing much fruit. In this season of Advent, we live in anticipation of Jesus' return. But it is not a passive waiting. It is an active time of growing and becoming all that God has called us to be.
Heavenly Father, as we await Your coming, we pray that our waiting time is productive, that we prepare ourselves for Your arrival. Let us not be weary in well doing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.