The Day Is Near
Open Your Bible
Matthew 25:1-13, Daniel 2:22, Romans 13:11-14, 1 Corinthians 4:5, 1 Timothy 6:12-16
BY Jen Yokel
Section 4: Waiting for the Light
I’ve never been a big New Year’s Eve celebrator, at least not in the typical sense. Instead of late night crowds and noise and dancing, I favor something quieter at home. It’s a time for reflection on the past and looking ahead with hope to the future. Still, as the years add up, there’s more to remember. Time blends the months together and lets them flow like a river toward an unknown future.
But who among us can look around at this world of beauty and tragedy without asking, “How long, oh Lord? How long until you make it all beautiful and right?” As we take down our trees and turn down the lights on another Advent season, our longing for the second advent deepens.
This longing is not new. Even though Jesus shared life with them, walking their roads and breathing their air, His disciples wanted to know what was next. When would it all be made right? What is the grand plan? As usual, Jesus answered with stories.
Once upon a time, ten women were preparing for a wedding party. Late in the night, they set out with their lamps to wait for the groom’s arrival. Five of them came prepared with their lamps and extra fuel besides. The other five just brought their lamps because they expected everything to go according to their plan.
But it didn’t. The groom was delayed along the way. By the time he arrived, it was too late to correct their mistake, and so they missed the feast. “Therefore, be alert,” Jesus concludes, “because you don’t know either the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).
What would we change if we knew the plan, if the future was as predictable as the turn of the calendar on New Year’s Eve? Would we wait with the same eagerness? Would we procrastinate? Would we stay faithful? Or is the beauty of not knowing in watching the horizon, waiting for the sun to rise?
Here’s what we do know: “now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11–12). As we watch and wait, God leads us into hopeful, wakeful, abundant life. God brings darkness to light, “reveals the deep and hidden things,” and will bring everything together “in his own time” (1Corinthians 4:5, Daniel 2:22, 1Timothy 6:15).
We can’t know exactly when and how God will set things right, but we can faithfully seek to follow Jesus in every moment. And though we can’t bring about total restoration in our own strength, we can participate in the healing of the world, one new year at a time. Until that day, may we watch and wait with hope for the dawn of a new morning in a world without end.