December is the time when we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ coming to this earthas the baby in Bethlehem. It is also the time to give attention to Jesus’ coming in glory on the last day. Jesus urges us “To be dressed early for service and to keep our lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet” (Luke 12:35,36).
What are we to do to be ready? Should we buy white robes and wave white flags? But this is not the kind of readiness Jesus has in mind. “Be dressed ready for
service,” he says. In his day servants would tuck their ankle-length robes up into their belts so they could move freely and be ready to serve. “Keep your lamps burning,” Jesus also says. Those servants needed to fill the lamps with oil regularly, not just when they saw the master approaching.
Jesus is talking about being ready to travel with him to heaven. He’s referring to having the lamp of faith burning when he returns in glory. How? “Blessed . . . are those who hear the word of God and obey it,” he says (Luke 11:28). The Apostle Paul also says in Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”.
Constant contact with God’s Word keeps faith’s strength up and its eyes open. Our faith needs its oil regularly replenished with the message of God’s saving love in Christ Jesus. Our faith needs regular strengthening by the Spirit’s work through the wonderful proclamation of the Gospel. How to be ready? Know that Christ has made you ready already. How not to forget this? Live in His Word.
I hope and pray that I will see all of you at the refueling station called Emanuel Lutheran Church this Christmas. Don’t worry – it’s not a self serve station either; it’s a full service station. Just come and leave everything else up to God.