Right now I have family members who are putting their house on the market. They have been busy packing up and keeping things clean for their open house and subsequent showings. Their house needs to be in order so they are ready at any moment for someone to come take a look. They are busy preparing for when their house sells.
I also have another family member who is currently looking for a new job. She has updated her resume and prepared herself for interviews. She is eager for when she lands the next interview and willing to accept a new job.
As for me, I recently have sorted through boxes of baby clothes, washing and hanging those things our little girl will need in those first few months. We’ve gotten out all our baby gear and fully moved the two year old out of the nursery and into a room with his brother. We are ready for this baby; now we are just waiting to welcome her into our home around Christmas time.
The thing is, ready or not, this baby will come. Will I have a hospital bag packed? Will the house be picked up or the clothes washed before I head to the hospital? Will I have made the next meal? Will my mom be here to watch the other kids yet? I know not the day, nor the hour, when she will make her appearance.
Also with the job and the house selling – it could happen at any time. You do your best to be prepared, but sometimes the timing or the offer could take you by surprise. You could have just had friends over and the kids made a mess of the house, or you just made plans to visit family when a company wants an interview.
This is what Jesus is talking about in the Gospel for this past Sunday, the 1st Sunday of Advent: “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. . . So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24: 44, 44
We do our best to be ready, but what does that look like exactly? We make a commitment to go to Confession during the Advent season, so our souls are cleaned up from the build-up of sin. We try to add some extra prayer time, be generous, and make a few sacrifices that help us focus on the reason for the season. Even still, it’s okay to know that we will never be perfectly ready for his coming.
But just because we don’t know the hour to be perfectly ready doesn’t mean we can’t allow him into the messiness and chaos of our lives right now, the way we are. Just because our prayer life isn’t what we want it to look like, our temper has been flaring up, or we feel completely stressed out doesn’t mean that Jesus can’t enter into that.
It means that we say okay to let Jesus into our mess and help us clean up. “Jesus is Messy” is the title of the first video on the advent series #JesusIs on RedeemedOnline. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Jesus is messy, but he isn’t afraid of entering into our mess, as long as we give him a little bit of room to work. In this season, we remember that Jesus was born into a smelly stable with animals instead of the comfort of a hotel room because no one else made room for him. He still came anyway. And he still redeemed us anyway, even while we were still sinners.
So get ready! Do your best to be prepared. But don’t wait for the perfect moment. Invite him into your mess right now, and say “Come, Jesus, Come.” Ready or not, he will come!