Christmas preparations are happening in our shops, our streets, our churches, our homes. But this year it is all a bit subdued as we are still feeling the effects of COVID19. For many people, Christmas will be very different this year. Many have lost loved ones; our known world has been turned upside down. There are things we will not be able to do that we all took for granted. And global warming is happening. Our sense of security and assurance with the “normal” things of life has been deeply shaken.

Then we read about the coming of the Son of Man in Mark’s Gospel, and we wonder whether we are in this time in history that Mark is predicting. I guess there have been many other times in the history of our world when people have wondered whether the end of the world, as we know it, is near. And, according to Mark, that’s not a bad thing.

This is the first Sunday of Advent 2020 and we are being told to stay awake, to be prepared. Like the bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13, we need to prepare ourselves and stay alert, for we will not know the day until it comes. Is this fair? What is God doing to us?

As Jesus is about to leave his disciples through his gift of himself on the cross, he tells them of their need to take their role in the world and society seriously. The story he tells of a master who departs, only to come back in some undetermined future, provides a perfect stimulus for our Advent reflections. In our preparations for celebrating the coming of Christ again this Christmas, we must “Stay awake!” and ready ourselves for the birth of love again in us and into a world in need.

Rev Adelene Mills

Retired Minister