Matthew 24:23-35

            I live in the upper Midwest of the United States.  The summers can be brutally hot and humid.  The winters can be incredibly frigid and full of snow.  Having worked with college students for many years, every Fall there was always one of those international students, or a student from the South, that had never experienced a Midwest winter and snow.  I could tell them over and over again that they needed a sturdy winter coat before the snow flies.  But, having never known sub-freezing, let alone sub-zero, temperatures it was difficult to imagine such cold when the weather was currently so warm.  Well, you know where this is going.  I, or someone else, usually had to hook them up with a suitable coat.  Even then, they just shook all winter and never took their scarves off.
            It might be difficult to imagine that someday Jesus is coming back to judge the living and the dead.  That’s why Jesus told his disciples to learn a lesson from the fig tree.  When you see the tree beginning to change, know that something is about to happen.  The tree will become altogether different than how you see it now.  Sometimes, even for myself who has lived through so many hard winters, it is incredible to know that the landscape as it is right now will be completely different come January.
            The sky and the earth won’t last forever.  But Christ’s words will endure for all time.  It’s hard to believe that seeing everything as it is right now is not how it is going to be forever.  Yet, a time is coming when it will change.  And if we are attentive and alert we will be ready.  We won’t be left out in the cold with no warm winter coat.  We are to be ready for Christ’s return.  That means taking off the old clothes of fear, insecurity, hopelessness, and hate, and putting on the new clothes of righteousness, peace, and love in the Holy Spirit.  Winter is nearly here.  Are you ready?


            Holy God, your promises are sure and altogether just.  Help me to always do your will and follow the ways of Jesus so that I am suitably prepared for eternity.  Amen.

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