‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 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.’
Hymn - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!
As a season of waiting, Advent teaches us vigilance: the art of living not habitually, on auto-pilot, but consciously and intentionally in light of the world we hope to see emerging. Jesus’s words teach us to be attentive to the signs of this emerging world: small signs of hope like the
first buds of spring, not always immediately obvious, but all around us when we learn to pay attention. The expectation of God’s coming brings us hope, but also makes us accountable to do our part to prepare and nourish God’s kingdom.