What Time Is It?
Jesus is coming again, but when?
An analog clock. You might make one from poster board.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Matthew 24:36,44 (NIV)
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When I was a child in school, one of the things that the teacher taught us was how to tell time. We had a big cardboard clock which would allow the teacher to move the hands so that we could learn to tell time. The small hand on the clock tells you the hour and the big hand tells you the minutes. Do you know how to tell time using a clock like this? If the big hand is on twelve and the little hand is on four, what time is it? That's right it is four o'clock. (You might to try several, if time permits.) Most of us don't use a clock like this anymore, most of us use a digital clock. A digital clock tells you both the hour and the minutes using numbers, such as 11:15. That's much easier, isn't it?
No matter what kind of clock we use, most of us look at it many times each day to check to see what time it is. Suppose that your best friend was to pick you up at two o'clock to go to a movie. First, you would make sure you were dressed and ready to go, and then, as the time drew near, you would be waiting and watching for your friend to come. If you know how to tell time, you would probably check the clock every few minutes to see if it was time for your friend to be there. If you don't know how to tell time, you would be asking your mom, "Is it two o'clock yet?
This Sunday marks the beginning of a very special season called Advent. Do you know what Advent means? The dictionary says that advent is "the coming of something very important." What is it? Is it Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus? Yes, we are looking forward to that, but we are also looking forward to the coming of another very important event. The return of Jesus!
Jesus told us that he would come again, but he didn't tell us what time he would be here. In fact, he said, "No one knows the day or hour when I will return. Only the Father knows. That is why you must be ready, I will come at a time when you least expect it." Wow! If we don't know when he is coming, how will we be ready? By doing the things that Jesus would want us to be doing -- loving one another, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, and helping the poor. If we are doing those things, we will be ready when he comes.
Come to think of it, those are also the very same things that we should be doing to get ready for the celebration of Christmas! Instead of thinking about what we are going to get, we should be thinking about what we can give.
Dear Jesus, we look forward to the day when you return. Help us to live in such a way that we will be ready when you come. Amen.