Sunday, December 18, 2022
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The First Nowell"1 (Lyrics)

I punched the button on the counter to let someone know that I needed help at the fabric counter of the big-box store. Soon, I heard someone coming — banging and clanging. When she rounded the corner, I saw why: she had numerous tools and electronic devices attached around her waist, all bouncing against each other. When I commented on them, she replied, "Yes, I want to be prepared for anything. I walk across this store many times a day, and I never know exactly what I'll need. This is a big building, and I have what I need for almost any situation."

She was a very efficient young woman. She whipped out scissors to cut my fabric, a device to scan the electronic code, a paper tag from a small printer, a straight pin to attach the tag, and a rubber band to hold it all together — all from the various pockets and devices hanging around her waist. I'm sure that she was a very valuable employee at that store, always prepared for anything.

Advent (from Latin advenire "to arrive") has twin themes: being prepared for the celebration of Christ's first coming, and being prepared for His second coming.

Matthew 25:13 – Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (NKJV)

Matthew records Jesus' parable of the five wise and five foolish bridesmaids. All of them have their lamps lit, but only five brought extra oil. The bridegroom finally arrives and the five foolish virgins are not prepared — their lamps are empty and they have no extra oil. While they rush out to buy more, the wedding begins and, despite their pleas when they return, the door is shut.

In this parable, Jesus warns believers to be prepared because we don't know when Jesus, our Bridegroom, will return. We don't need oil in lamps any more, so how do we prepare?

First, we need to make sure that we have invited Jesus into our hearts and lives to become our Lord and Saviour. Then, we need to live in such a way that "we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming" (1 John 2:28b ESV). Jesus warns us, "See that no one leads you astray. But be on your guard." (Mark 13:5b,9a ESV) Peter warns us to humble ourselves, to cast all our anxieties on him, and to be watchful, for our "adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:6-8 ESV) We are to "stir up one another to love and good works … and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV)

In other words, we are to live as though Christ's return might be today — or even right this minute. We're to keep telling others about Him. Mike Livingstone of Lifeway Christian Resources paraphrased Acts 1:11 – "Why are you standing there gazing into heaven? Jesus is coming back — so get busy!" There's our charge — what are we waiting for?

Prayer: Father, we want to be ready for Christ's return, whenever that may be. Help each of us to live in such a way that others see Jesus in us, so much so that they, too, want to make sure that they are ready for that magnificent event. Amen.

Forward this devotional     Share this devotional on Facebook     Like PresbyCan on Facebook

About the author:

Sharon Cook <>
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

Send your feedback to the author

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Sharon.

    Thanks for the good word, Sharon. Merry Christmas.

    May it be as it has been said! Blessings on your message.

    Thanks, Sharon, for another of your very good writings. Yes, we really need to prepare for the return of our Lord and be a great example to others to show the importance of being prepared for His return and the way our world is these days there certainly needs to be more Christlike behaviour to spread His love. Blessings for these very informative and encouraging writings you prepare.

    Thanks for this!
    Interesting, when you think about the dichotomy of Jesus command to “be still and know that I am God“ and other commands to share the gospel or parables to be ready for his return. Whenever I hear admonitions to get busy, the song in the Veggie tales video called Madam Blueberry always comes to mind…busy, busy, dreadfully busy…which was her answer when someone needed her attention. It’s always a balancing act, especially for pastors.
    Merry Christmas,
    (Ontario, Canada)

    Hi Sharon,
    Yesterday I wrote what I would like to get done before Christmas Eve, so I was feeling “prepared”. Your message is also about being “prepared” in a different way. I really enjoyed your story of the very efficient store clerk and marvelled that it was a young woman.
    I find that I am more focused on spreading the good news than thinking about Jesus’ second coming. In a way they are similar, but there is a difference. I think I work better on concrete ideas like a “to do” list than on thinking about what will happen. I appreciate the reminder of the importance of being prepared.
    Thank you for sharing and wishing you a Merry Christmas. Blessings.

    Thank you Sharon for yesterday’s devotion.
    I just read it again, and I like it so much.
    Please keep up your faith and submit regularly because I like your submissions.

    I really enjoyed devotional today. So timely and a great message to share with others.
    Hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.

    Just now read your instructive devotional. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.


PresbyCan is a community of faithful, Holy Spirit-filled, Christ-centred, God-honouring Christians.