On this first Sunday of Advent, the first day of the new Church year, I have a really important message for you. Are you ready for this? It’s been brought to my attention by Management that—you’re not busy enough. Well, the Scriptures don’t say it in those words. But children and adults alike are on such jam-packed schedules that it is doing violence to our spirits. We are busy, indeed—but the question that Jesus forces us to face today is: what is the business of our busyness? We have become almost robotic in “taking care of business” each day. And the more frantic we become, the less we are able to take care of the real business of the heart. Remember what Marley said to Ebenezer Scrooge when Marley appeared wearing a huge, heavy chain, woven of “cashboxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, and heavy purses…”? (Seriously—“heavy purses”!) Marley wears this chain for misusing his chances to make a difference for others in life. “The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” (Chap. 1)
When Jesus says, “Keep awake,” he means take time and silence to pray and choose carefully how to spend your and your family’s time. God has a bigger plan at stake. Do our choices build up God’s priorities? Or do they waste the short and precious time we have been given to create a more just and loving world, as God’s partners? When Jesus returns at “an unexpected hour,” may he find us not breathless with exhaustion—but with hopeful expectation!