Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Wednesday, December 7
By Rev. Jan Buxton Wade
Time to Awaken
Read: Ephesians 5:14-16 NIV
“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be careful, then, how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”
During my 18 months of chaplaincy training at the old Baptist Hospital here in Knoxville, my early shifts generally began at six, meaning I had to bolt out of bed by five a.m. Though often a bit groggy, I would check the ER situation first, then begin my round of regular visitations before group sessions. I became especially close to Mrs. Long in my tenure, a very dignified and soft-spoken lady in her seventies, in and out of the facility for pulmonary treatments. I had met her family members when they were visiting. In one of our last conversations before she entered hospice care, I asked her, if she had the chance, might she go back in time and change anything in her life. Readily, yet wistfully, she replied “Oh, yes!”
“I was always so preoccupied with keeping the house spotless, you see, with making certain our meals were well-balanced, our clothes pressed to perfection… I wish I had gone with my girls and their dad to their ball games and school plays when they wanted me to. It was as if I was in a stupor, never finding the time. And now I see that the home chores could have waited. My daughters are fine women, but I missed out on so many things that mattered to them. And they never knew how proud I was of them along the way.”
Advent is a season of patient waiting. But it should also be a time to wake up. “Keep awake!” says the apostle, quoting the prophet Isaiah. We respond fairly quickly to those morning alarms on our bedside table that signal us to begin our day; but let us also be open to those alarms the Holy One offers us throughout the hours that follow, pointing us toward the better way, awakening us to those actions that really matter.
Someone said he placed a sticker with a clock face on his dressing room mirror, another on his telephone, and another on his dashboard. It’s his way of asking himself crucial questions: “What really matters in the time I have left? Who needs my attention today?”
Good Lord, give us wisdom to open ourselves to your wake-up calls throughout the days we are given, as you direct us to serve others in the name of Christ. Amen.