But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20)
A number of years ago now, my wife and I decided to take a walk around the Southbank in Central London. We travelled to Waterloo Station and started to walk towards the river. However, we started to notice something strange. The traffic around us seemed to get less and less. Then we heard sirens. A police motorcycle sped past us, and then stopped, blocking traffic one way. Then another came and blocked traffic from another direction. Intrigued, we turned around and were greeted by the Queen and Prince Philip smiling and waving as they were driven down the road on the way to a service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
That is the story of my closest encounter with the Queen. I was completely unprepared and utterly taken by surprise – and that was okay as it wasn’t like I was going to shake hands with her or anything like that. But the riders of those police bikes were thankfully not caught unawares. They were not taken by surprise. But they were prepared, and they acted to prepare the way for the monarch.
As we near Christmas we are in the season of Advent, which reminds us that we are still waiting for the king to arrive. Jesus the king has come as a baby at Bethlehem, and a man on a cross. But we still await the king to come in all his power and glory. We still await the kingdom of God in all its fullness. We still wait for Jesus to return.
Nobody likes to wait do they? Especially in our culture and society, we have so much on tap and on demand. We can have things now, groceries delivered in an hour, books downloaded immediately to our device as soon as they are released, films streaming in our living room at the same time as the cinema. Why wait? Waiting seems like such a bore!
Nobody likes waiting, but advent reminds us that waiting is important. Because we await a king who is worth waiting for. The question for us is what kind of wait-er will we be? Will we be like my wife and I on that day by the Southbank? Shocked and surprised at the coming of the ruler? Will that coming be unexpected and will it find us unprepared?
Or will we be like those police riders? Will we know precisely what is happening and who is coming? Will the monarch find us ready and alert and about the sovereign’s business when they arrive?