For years they searched the skies for a sign. They stayed alert for even the smallest sign. Perhaps this happened over generations. All we know is that they were watching for it – they were seeking it – they were alert. And when the wise men saw the sign, they acted on it. They began their journey, following the star to find the newborn king of the Jews. (See Matthew 2:1-12)
Simeon was a righteous and devout man who waited for the promised one. He didn’t know the details. He didn’t know the exact time or hour. But he stayed alert to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Because he was alert, the Spirit led him to the Temple that day, and out of the crowds of people there, it revealed to him who the child was and what he came to do. (See Luke 2:22-35)
Anna was a prophetess. She spent decades in the Temple worshipping with prayer and fasting. She too was alert. She noticed what Simeon was saying and joined in with thanks to God for the child who would bring redemption to Jerusalem. (Luke 2:36-38)
In the Advent story, we learn about people who were alert: Individuals who were paying attention to what was going on around them; devout believers who filtered what they saw through the promises in God’s Word. It also includes people who were not alert: Kings and religious leaders who did not want to see or even opposed what was happening before their very eyes. (See Matthew 2:3-8, 12-18) Crowds who were too busy in the Temple to hear from the Spirit or notice what was happening around them.
As we enter into this Advent season, which one are you? Are you alert to what God is doing in the world around you? Is your heart open to joining in with what he is doing, even if it radically disrupts your world? Are you willing to spend the time with God necessary to hear his voice? To see the signs? To respond according to his will? Or are you seeking your own good? Looking to achieve your own goals? Busy with your own tasks? Opposed to any disruption God might bring?
May you keep Jesus as your focus this Advent season. May you eagerly seek him in God’s Word and in the world around you. May you long for the redemption that he can and will bring to our troubled world. May you eagerly seek and watch for his coming for a second time when all of God’s promises will finally be fulfilled. (See Matthew 24:42, Philippians 3:20; 2 Peter 3:11-13, Revelation 22:12)
May you live a life where you stay alert to Jesus.