The Good Word for Sunday Nov. 29th ~ for the complete readings click here.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this week is bountiful and a beautiful, peaceful time for you to count blessings with friends or family. Frankly, I am looking forward to a couple days of cooking, eating, napping, and sharing stories with good people.
One line from the gospel got my attention this week. No it wasn’t “People will die of fright,” although that’s a good one too.
No the line that caught my attention was, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life…” Basically, Jesus is warning us that if our hearts become drowsy the second coming may catch us off guard, which, I gather from context, is bad. If we aren’t actively preparing for Jesus to enter into our lives, then we may be surprised, and not in a good way, when Jesus comes to us.
I totally get how the first two actions cause us to have drowsy hearts. Drunkenness and carousing (which I found out through a little research was basically just loud, musical drunkenness) makes sense as things that lull our hearts to sleep. If we spend our time excessively drinking and goofing off, we dull our own attentiveness to Jesus. Got it.
The third item is what surprised me. Jesus warns that we can get a drowsy heart from worrying about daily anxieties. On a list of the three things that can distract us from looking for God, Jesus lists:
It kind of seems like one of these things doesn’t belong. Don’t we worry in order to stay on top of things? If I’m not worried about getting some place on time, will I get there? Aren’t we supposed to worry to be a competent adult?
I think “the anxieties of daily life” are on the list for two potential reasons. First, holding onto serious anxiety about daily life is a distraction. Worrying about daily life is focusing on less important stuff. Spending energy on things that don’t matter in the long run will leave us ill prepared to receive Jesus.
Secondly, worrying isn’t actually doing anything to move towards the goal of looking expectantly for Christ. I heard about a study that suggested people worry because it actually makes us feel better because it is better than doing nothing. How silly is that? Worrying makes us feel better, but it doesn’t actually make anything better. Instead of worrying, do something!
This Advent is an opportunity to expectantly await Jesus Christ with a ready and eager heart. If we can avoid carousing and the anxieties of daily life and we can keep our eyes, and our hearts, focused on our coming King.
When you catch yourself worrying about something this week, say this quick prayer: I trust in you, Jesus.