Thiara Herrera-Leiva is thinking about a different kind of Advent this year.
“On Sunday, we began Advent, which is a season of preparation. Instead of looking back to what Jesus has already accomplished, I want us to look ahead in anticipation and wonder,” the senior ministry leadership student told attendees of the twice-weekly service held for the Kuyper Community in the Vos Chapel.
She then asked the audience to turn to Matthew 24, where Jesus alludes to His second coming.
“This passage is screaming at us to be vigilant, to stay awake because Jesus’ return could be at any time and take us by surprise,” she said.
Herrera-Leiva noted that the passage features several stories of people going about normal activities, caught off guard when God suddenly appears. She added that, though we as Christians know what Jesus has predicted, we are not immune to this kind of reaction.
“Although we, the church, know that Jesus is coming back, we get caught up in our lives. We’re often not doing what we’re supposed to be doing in this time of preparation. We’re not getting ready,” she said soberly.
Instead, she asked her listeners to consider how to live with the saving work of Christ – already accomplished but not yet fully realized – in mind.
“To be ready is to live the way God has been teaching His people to all along,” she emphasized. “We are called to love the Lord and to love others. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others and, in doing so, we are blessed again ourselves.”
Turning again to Scripture, this time to the book of Jeremiah, Herrera-Leiva pointed out that this means we are to make ourselves at home and work for the welfare of whatever location God has planted us.
We need not wait for a moment of perfect preparation, she said: we can start right away.
“So, my question for you is this,” she asked the audience, “Are you getting ready?”