As Advent begins, we look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ first coming to the world in the light of a text that promises his final coming. We, like the gospel writer, Luke, live in the time between these two “advents” of Jesus. Today’s gospel (Luke 21:25-36) gives us guidance on how to live faithfully as we wait for Jesus to return.
However, in this in-between time, it is easy for us to become distracted and lose sight of the promises of Jesus. Daily tasks and routines can lull us into apathy. Ease and success can allow us to ignore our spiritual needs.
Struggles, setbacks, and disappointments can cause us to lose hope and fall into despair. But Jesus tells us we should not feel beaten down or defeated by the struggles of this world, but instead “stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke).
Jesus goes on to say that there will be signs, signs of new life and growth, such as the sprouting of a leaf on a fig tree in the summertime. These signs are perceptible to us here and now. These signs help us know that God’s kingdom is coming. In fact, they remind us that in Jesus, God’s kingdom has already come near, and Jesus words will not pass away until this kingdom has fully come. So we live with our eyes focused on today’s signs that demonstrate God’s reign and we trust that Jesus’ redemption of the world will one day be complete.