Roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then, you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. (1 Peter 1:13-16, The Message)
Two words that seem to be coming up often, as the season of Advent begins, are awake and ready. One of them (awake) has to do with a way of being, and the other (ready) has to do with a mode of operation--what it takes to live a life that is awake and alert. It is like the parable of the oil and the lamps. Staying awake is only one part of the equation, albeit a very important part. We must also be ready. Or, better yet, we must also make ourselves ready--constantly. Preparations must be made in advance, so that when the time of the arrival comes, we will have oil for our lamps. During Advent we watch and wait, but that is not a passive thing. The kind of watching and waiting we are called to do is an active, expectant, anticipatory waiting. It is a waiting in which our souls stand on tiptoe, knowing that the arrival is imminent, and that we must be ready, whenever and wherever and however it comes to pass. That is why we must roll up our sleeves and put our minds in gear, so that we will be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives.
Come, Lord Jesus!