The Days of Noah

The other evening my husband and I were clicking through the channels on the television looking for something to watch. We happened to scroll by the local news and it had a special report on. Locally the hospitals are full, and they were asking people to wear masks and be careful to social distance. We kept it on for a few minutes and listened as one of the hospital administrators was describing what it was like in the hospital. He talked about expanding the morgue because they needed the space for more bodies. It was a pretty bleak picture.

The next day we went to the store. We expected that there would be lots of people wearing masks and following the directions given on the news. Surprise, surprise, it was not so. Hardly anyone was wearing a mask and at one store, even the checkers were not wearing masks.

So we get in the car and I say to my husband, “What gives? Am I living in an alternate reality? Is what the man said on television true or not?” He didn’t have an answer but as we drove home and I looked around, I thought, “These are like the days of Noah.”

You see, when Noah was building his ark, he was preaching to the people about the coming flood. He was warning them but they were not listening. It was as if he wasn’t speaking at all. Jesus described it this way, “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24: 37-39

Most people have heard about the Lord’s return. They have been warned that they should get ready, but they are not paying attention; they are not listening. They have heard about it so much that they have grown dull of hearing. They are going about their business as usual, either unaware or unconcerned that in fact there will come a day of reckoning with the Lord.

Are you like that? Am I? Do we think that just because it happened yet, that it will not happen at all? Have we even become so hardened to the message that we have become scoffers? The apostle Peter talked about a time when men would be come like that: “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3: 3-4

It’s easy to hear a warning and ignore it. It’s easy to ignore something we have heard over and over again and think, “Not going to happen to me. Probably not going to happen at all.” Let’s not be like those during the days of Noah. Let’s be ready for the Lord’s return.

Image by Hany Alashkur. Courtesy of Pixabay

Advent – Preparing for the Coming of Christ

Having been raised in a traditional church, I thought I was familiar with Advent. I thought it was all about Christ’s first coming as a baby in Bethlehem. During the Advent Season I would read the Christmas story and think about Jesus’ first coming in its historical context.

advent advent wreath burn burnt

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Imagine my surprise,when a few years ago, I learned that is not all that Advent is about. I learned that the first two Sundays of Advent anticipate Christ’s Second Coming. That got me to thinking about the Season…what is the real history of Advent?

I would like to quote from an article entitled “What Is Advent?” by Justin Holcomb on Christianity.com.:

“The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus,  meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus.

By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.”

In summary, the early Church understood that we need to prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming. New believers would prepare for baptism and celebrate Christ’s coming into their hearts. By the 6th century, Christians would use the season to prepare their hearts for Christ’s Second Coming. From medieval times forward, Christians would prepare their hearts during Advent anticipating His Second Coming while also remembering his first coming as a babe in Bethlehem.

For me, the bottom line is, “Am I preparing my heart for Christ’s coming?” As the Advent season begins this Sunday, am I thinking about the possibility that Christ could return at any moment? Am I prepared to meet Him or am I distracted by the busyness of the season? Those are the real questions I need to ask myself. I hope you will take some time during this season of Advent to ask yourself those questions also. 

Have a Blessed Advent!