Are you ready for Christmas this year? Have you done all the preparation, organised everything and are you waiting expectantly? I know it’s a long stretch but if you are anything like me (perish the thought, you say) you are waiting for all the fuss to end and for life to return to “normal” if there is such a thing.
Have you ever wondered about how many humans were ready at the entry of Jesus Christ to the world, born over 2000 years ago? There weren’t very many really, probably only a few that we know about: Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Anna and Simeon and later, the Wise Men. (Read about them in Luke 2: 21-40 and Matthew 2:1-12). Probably less than a dozen expectant ones or so all up.
There were many people who SHOULD have been ready for the coming of the Messiah: The scribes and Pharisees should have been aware because of their scriptural education. They were men of great knowledge but little insight or understanding: they certainly were not ready.
But most of the world knew nothing about it and those that found out were, on the whole, greatly astonished and surprised: The shepherds in the field were amazed and “sore afraid”, but quickly joined in the great rejoicing with the angels. King Herod was taken by complete surprise, and paid out his extreme rage on the parents of all the slaughtered infants of the Bethlehem region.
It is interesting to see the parallels today. People in many countries celebrate Christmas today, but how many are actually prepared for His second coming? Jesus did promise to return at a time and day we would not know, but He gave us plenty of signs, and these signs are all happening right now, all around us.
These are “the times of the signs.”
He is coming again, not to die willingly for us and to remove our sins, but to rescue us and to judge the world for its sin. Who will be ready for Him at His second coming? (I am including the rapture of the Church in this context).
Will the political leaders be ready? Of course not. Will the movers and shakers of this world be ready for Him? Not very likely. Will the religious leaders be eagerly expecting Him, to hand over all their authority to Him? You must be joking.
I don’t think very many ordinary people either will be ready for Him to come back to earth. The scriptures quote Jesus as saying “When the Son of Man returns will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
Jesus told a parable about the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. They were supposed to be waiting for the bridegroom to return, unannounced, but five of them lacked enough oil for their lamps. Only the five wise ones with enough oil were admitted to the wedding feast. The five foolish ones were not only locked out, but were told “I do not know you”.
Since Jesus taught this parable to remind His followers to “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour,” (Matt 25:13) we ought to be extremely careful that we do not miss His return as so many missed Him on His first visit.
How can we be wise and ready for Him to return at a time we don’t know about? There are several major things we can, and should, be putting into practise:
- Be aware of all the signs around us – these are the “birth pangs”. The deception, the crime, the sin, the false teaching, the violence, etc, etc.
- Study prophecy – one third of the Bible was not written just for historical interest.
- Be busy working for Him. Despite most people’s apathy and antipathy we should continue to do the work He has set us to do.
- In Jesus’ own words – “watch and pray.”
God bless you this Christmas and may you have a safe and happy holiday season based on the original “holy season.”