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Ready for His Return

Theme: Watching for Christ's return. First Sunday of Advent, Year B
Object: A regular calendar and an Advent calendar (see below)
Scripture: Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. Mark 13:33 (NIV)

I am sure all of you know what this is. (Hold up a calendar.) That's right, it is a calendar. Most of us use a calendar like this one every day. Sometimes we write important things that we want to remember on the calendar. Today I also have another type of calendar. (Hold up the Advent calendar.) Have you ever seen a calendar like this one? It is called an Advent calendar. Advent means the arrival of an event or a person. Now, what event or person to you think we might be looking forward to at this time of year? Yes! The Advent calendar helps us to count down the days until Christmas and the celebration of Jesus' birthday.

Since some of you might not have seen an Advent calendar before, let me show you how it works. As you see, there is a picture of a manger scene and above it, there are twenty-five numbered stars. Today, we are going to color the manger scene. We'll color the stable, Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, the angel, shepherd, the king, and the animals. Then, beginning tomorrow, we will color one star each day, starting with star number one. Finally, we will color the large star that is right above the manger. That's when we will know it's Christmas day, the day we've all been waiting for!

While we are waiting for Christmas, we should remember that we are also waiting for something else. We are waiting for Jesus to come again. When will that be? We don't know. We don't have a calendar that tells us when he will come again, but he promised that he would. Jesus said that even the angels in heaven don't know the day or hour of his return. Well, what should we do? We should do what the Bible tells us to do, "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come."

What else should we be doing while we are waiting and watching for Jesus to return? We should be worshiping him, praising him, serving him, loving him, and loving one another as he commanded us to do. When we do those things, we will be ready, no matter when he comes.

Dear Father, we are watching and waiting for Christmas when we celebrate the day that you sent your Son, Jesus, to earth. We are also waiting for him to come again. Help us to be ready. Amen.

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Alternate sermon for Mark 13:32-37: "The Waiting Place"
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