Vigilant and Watchful
Words are interesting. If you look up vigilant, it is defined as being watchful. If you look up watchful, it is defined as being vigilant. Guess that settles that! No matter what word you choose to use, the implication is for you to be awake and aware of what is happening around you.
If there has ever been a time to be watchful it has been 2020. A year that started with much promise and hope changed into a year of frustration and division. Thank God that the new year for the Church begins this weekend as the First Sunday of Advent. Happy New Year! May this be a year of great hope. And a year for a desire to change.
In many ways we want to label this as an unprecedented year, something of which we have never seen or experienced before. Just looking at the challenges of the virus, the election year, trying to work from home, or any number of trials we could add to the list, my first thought would be to agree. I do not want to go through another year like this. But to say it is unprecedented may not be true.
We have an experience today that has been happening for centuries that indicates we have lived through these events many times over. It is called deer hunting. Yes, deer hunting. Deer hunters face every hunting season with great expectations and hope of landing the big one. They are willing to social distance in the worst weather including freezing rain and snow and very cold temperature. They wear masks and never complain. They are resilient as they will climb the same tree from which they have never seen a deer with the hope that today they will experience the biggest buck ever. Most deer hunting is done near home. And if it is not near home, they will live in a shack that is extremely small, poorly heated, and will survive on the candy that was left over from Halloween. And talk about frustration, they honestly believe this will be the year. They have evaluated what happened last year and determined what needs to be changed. Perhaps it is battery operated warming socks or gloves. Maybe they need more deer scent. Although they have not washed their hunting clothes for ten years, what is one more year? You just do not want to be down wind from them or anywhere near them in a truck. Maybe getting a laser sight for their gun would help?
And talk about being watchful, they can stand still for ten minutes at least. Then their cell phone rings or buzzes. Or they get hungry and drop the Snickers wrapper. So much for all the deer scent. Maybe this year they will get a bench for their deer stand. A battery operated one that keeps your bottom warm.
Alright, that is enough of that. Being watchful means we know that Christ is coming, we can see all the decorations going up. Being watchful means looking inward and recognizing that we need to make some changes. In a busy world we need to find the quiet time to reflect on the call God is giving us. Being watchful also means recognizing the second coming of Christ and we need to prepare ourselves for this event, too. Every year the church gives us this time of hope and allows our souls to be filled with a desire for the Christ-child. We need to be more vigilant and watchful than a hunter looking for a deer. The hunter knows the deer might not come. We know Christ is coming!
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen