November 29, 2022

1 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ 12 But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ 13 So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

- Matthew 25.1-13 - 

All of us have experienced a houseguest showing up unexpectedly for a visit. We rush to put away the laundry, get the dishes to the sink, pick up the toys left scattered by the kids, before we go to answer the door. Most of us hate being caught off guard and unprepared.

Jesus gives us a warning: don't be unprepared when the bridegroom comes to get his bride. The story of the ten bridesmaids serves to remind us that we must be prepared for his coming.

There is a great tragedy within the story of Advent. Although the people of Israel had been long awaiting and expecting a Messiah to come when he finally arrived, they were not prepared for him. Their hearts and minds were not prepared to receive the Messiah because they had become so consumed by their own notions of what they thought a Messiah would be. Israel had become so preoccupied with violence, bitterness, and political turmoil that when their King arrived in a manger, they couldn't recognize him for who he was.

This is the challenge to us as we await his second advent: We must keep our "lamps full of oil and our wicks trimmed." In other words, we must be filled with the Spirit and burning bright with the light of Jesus so that we will be prepared to receive him when he comes. 
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