Our scripture this week is Matthew 24:36-44.

Welcome to the first Sunday of Advent! Today we begin the celebration of preparing for the Lord’s coming to be with us on earth. John 3:14 tells us “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We know Jesus is with us through the Holy Spirit always, but we celebrate His birth as a time of rebirth for us, to be spiritually refreshed and to begin a new year full of peace, love, hope and joy.

So why are we reading this passage from Matthew 24:36-44 as our Gospel this week? Because Jesus coming to be with us is the beginning of God’s plan for our salvation, which includes Christ’s sacrifice for us and the promise of eternal life to those who are faithful. Just as we prepare for His coming as the infant in a manger, we must prepare for His return.

Jesus tells us that His return will come as a surprise to us, but because He loves us so much, He wants to make sure we are safe from evil by warning us to be ready always. Only through our faith in Him can we be saved, and only through sharing His love for others can we be considered faithful.

Loving Lord, we are so grateful for the gift of our Savior. Help us to be faithful followers and good stewards of the wonderful gift we have received. Amen.

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