Sunday, December 2, 2018
by Alex Rodgers
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the
bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took
no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of
them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come
out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough
for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to
buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and thedoor was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied,
‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
We begin Advent with a parable from the gospel according to Matthew. It is an eschatological parable
which means it addresses the end of all things, of Christ’s final return. In Advent we celebrate the
coming of Christ into the world in the incarnation and we anticipate Christ’s coming again. This parable
deals with readiness. Are we ready for Christ? Are we alert and anticipating? Whether waking or
sleeping we are to remain alert.
For the bridesmaids or young women in the parable this preparation involved having enough oil for the
lamps. Some of the bridesmaids were prepared and some were not. It’s interesting to me that the
prepared bridesmaids were unwilling to help the unprepared ones. I hope that in our own preparation
we are ready to help others in their preparation.
How do we prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming of Christ? How do we make room? I think
that when we keep Christ ever before us, in our hearts and minds, we remain alert. We keep our eyes
open for the ways in which God is working in this world. We confess our sin and receive God’s grace to
keep our hearts open to the working of God’s Spirit and unburdened so that we might experience the
peace of Christ. The coming of Christ is a joyful thing and we wait in expectation of God’s eternal glory.
As you make preparations in your heart and in your home this Advent season, may you rest in the peace
of Christ and be open to God’s in-breaking into our lives and our world.
Dear God, help us to be prepared and alert. Help us to open our eyes, our ears, our hearts, and
our minds to your coming. Amen.