Waiting is never easy. Waiting for Christmas is tortuous as a kid. My sister and I would agonize over our advent countdown and would take every opportunity to snoop through the house to see if we could find our gifts. We never did, until one year.

One Christmas morning- when my sister and I were about eight or nine years old, my sister just wasn’t very excited about her gifts. She opened them, smiled, and said thank-you to mom and dad. There was no paper throwing. No shrieks of joy. What we found out later was that my sister had found our parent’s super secret hiding place a week before Christmas and had opened all her gifts ahead of time before carefully re-wrapping each one so mom and dad wouldn’t find out. My sister’s impatience with Christmas backfired and sapped the joy out of Christmas morning.

Waiting is never easy.

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of Ten Virgins. Some were wise and had plenty of oil for their lamps and would be prepared when the bridegroom came to pick them up. The others were foolish and did not have enough oil. The foolish virgins went out to buy more oil and, consequently, missed the arrival of the bridegroom and were shut out of the wedding banquet. Jesus says, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13).”

Advent is a season of waiting and anticipation. We anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and, we wait for and anticipate when Christ will return. Let’s be honest, people have been waiting for the return of Jesus for nearly 2000 years. Waiting is tough! But we have promises from God that Jesus will return- and when he does that creation will be redeemed and restored. Salvation will be fully realized.

Who are we in the parable? Are we the foolish virgins who were not prepared for the arrival of the bridegroom- therefore missing the wedding banquet? Or are we more like the wise virgins who were prepared and waiting for the bridegroom and welcomed into the wedding banquet?

This Advent and Christmas season, we must consider how we are waiting and anticipating the coming of Christ. Are we living a life that makes the most of our waiting? Will we be ready when Jesus returns? Are we telling others so that they, too, can be ready when Jesus the Bridegroom comes to take his bride, the Church, to the Heavenly banquet?

In Revelation 22:20- Jesus says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.”

Today’s ReadingsPsalm 50, 59, 60, 33, Zech 4:1-14, Rev 4:9-5:5, Matt 25:1-13

Steve LaMotte is the pastor of Hope UMC in Dover, Del., and has served as a dean, speaker and several other capacities at camp. He blogs at stevelamotte.blogspot.com

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