Matthew 25:13 Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Jesus tells the parable of the ten virgins who are awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. Five have extra oil and five do not. As their wait stretches out longer than anticipated the lamps begin to go out and the five with no extra oil have to leave to get more. They are not present when the bridegroom arrives and they miss out.
The church is the bride of Christ, challenged to be well prepared and to keep awake. A state of attentiveness is necessary, even in a time when one grows weary.
Today we celebrate the first Sunday of advent where we anticipate the arrival of our Savior. This is not just the anticipation of the celebration of the birth of Christ — but the anticipation of the return of Christ. Christ will return again and while we may find ourselves in those long days of waiting, we must remain attentive.
When we were younger we would do crazy things like drive for long hours during the night. This was especially helpful on trips when our children were young. It was easier when they were fast asleep in their carseats. The problem was that the adults in the front seat needed to stay awake and attentive to the road ahead. Sometimes we would become very tired and would play games to stay awake. We listened to the radio and drank lots of caffeinated beverages. Whatever it took to remain attentive because falling asleep would be dangerous.
We must do all that we can to remain spiritually awake and alert during the long dark hours of the night. We may need pit stops along the way to refuel. Additional teaching and learning opportunities may be necessary. Active engagement in ministry may keep us attentive. Whatever it is, we must be intentional about remaining alert or we will be lulled to sleep. It’s far too easy and it happens in that moment when we take our eyes off the goal for just a moment.
In anticipation of the advent of Christ we do all we can to keep awake, attentive and in kingdom service until he returns again.
Lord, please help me to keep awake and attentive, prepared to meet you at any time. Amen.