Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Thursday, December 1
By Suzanne Matheny
Wake Up! Be Alert!
Read: Isaiah 2:4-5; Romans 13:11-14
“Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11b, NLT)
Advent is apocalyptic. When we hear the word “apocalyptic,” our 21st century ears often hear destruction and violence thanks to the popularity of sci-fi fictional media featuring the collapse of civilization and God’s punishment of the wicked. Instead, a truer understanding of the word “apocalypse” comes from its ancient Greek origination, meaning simply “revelation” or “disclosure.”
In the midst of this season’s festivities and celebrations, Christians are focused on the “revealing” of the coming of God into the world in the Christ child, named Jesus. We marvel at the story of Jesus’s birth as told in the New Testament gospels; but both the Old and New Testament scriptures also speak of the Advent of the Lord in myriad daily ways and ultimately when our eternal communion with God will be fulfilled. Jesus’s exhortation to his disciples to wake up and stay awake extends to us Christ-followers. Isaiah assures us that God will bring a welcomed peace among all nations and calls us to “walk in the light of the Lord” as we await God’s revelation and salvation. Paul echoes Jesus’s and Isaiah’s admonitions to wake up and to “put on the shining armor of right living,” or as one commentator* has said, “be alert to what God is doing in the world, and live in accordance with God’s coming salvation.” We do not know the hour or day of God’s revelation; but in the coming of God’s Son, we hear the call to wake up and be alert!
God, even as you reveal yourself daily and in so many varying ways, sometimes we become complacent and fall asleep. May this season of Advent be a wake up call. May we be ever alert and ready to rejoice in your salvation.
*Susan Grove Eastman, Associate Research Professor Emerita of New Testament Duke Divinity School