“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24)
One of the problems that had arisen at the church at Thessalonica resulted from speculation about the date of the Lord’s return. Some had even quit their jobs and sold their possessions just to be ready. These had become burdens on their brethren who had to support them. Paul exhorted the Thessalonicans to excellent Christian behavior rather than wasting time in vain speculation and inactivity, since they did not know when the Lord would return. He told them to pray at all times and to live in peace and righteousness.
In the season of Advent we must focus not merely on the Coming of Christ as a baby but His Second Coming as well. We spend a lot of time, effort and resources on that first Coming. Shouldn’t we spend as much if not more on preparing for the Second Coming? Many of us would rather prepare for Christmas as this is easier than preparing for Christ’s return for we judge ourselves to be poor evangelists, poor preachers of the Gospel, poor examples of righteousness. Yet as Paul says the Holy Spirit will enable us to live holy lives free from evil as well as to carry on the work we are called to. He is faithful to His task and will accomplish God’s will in us as long as we do not quench the Spirit by failing to pray or by deliberately indulging the flesh. The best thing we can do to be ready for Christ’s return is live our lives in righteousness and charity, always doing the work of the Lord and spreading the good news of forgiveness in Christ. Living the normal Christian life is the best way to prepare for the Lord’s return.