keep awake

Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.  And what I say to you I say to all: ‘Keep awake.’                 (Mark 13:35-37)

One of my favorite artists is a guy named Brian Andreas.  He has very strange artwork and most of the time it delights me by its peculiarity.  We have one of his wall sculptures in our house.  It’s supposed to be an angel – you can tell by the oddly shaped wire wings — and like all angels, it comes with a message:

Most people don’t know there
are angels whose only job
is to make sure you don’t
get too comfortable,
she said.
They know how
easy it is to
fall asleep
& miss
your
life.

It’s easy to fall asleep and miss our lives.  When life is painful, when the news is filled with what seem to be insurmountable problems, and when our spirits are weary from trying to be hopeful in the midst of it all — it can be tempting to tune out, turn off, fall asleep.  What is harder is to be present, to keep caring, to pay attention, and to watch, wait for, and believe in the signs of God’s appearing in our lives and in our world.

The season of Advent is upon us and it is all about staying awake; keeping watch; waiting for ‘the master of the house [to] come.’  The more I live as an intentional Christian, the more grateful I am for the structure and rhythm of the Church’s calendar.  Advent is the beginning of our year, and our year begins with one task.  It’s not a simple one but our charge is clear: keep awake.

Gracious and loving God, you know how hard it is for us to wait and to keep watch,
so you have given us Mary and her beloved son, Jesus, that we might learn how to be patient — waiting with her and watching for Him: the One who comes to save us.  Amen.

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