I grew some potatoes this summer.
Actually I didn’t do anything, a man from my congregation set them for me in a garden box that he made for me. All I had to do is wait for them to grow, and watch for the signs that they were ready. It began first with the shoots appearing over the dirt. I knew this was a sign that they were growing, but I knew when the small leaves began to appear that they were not ready to be picked.
Later in the summer though, as the leaves began to get bigger and bigger I kept asking, when do I know that they are ready to be picked? Can I pick them out now? The key is waiting until the right time to pick them, so that you have some good potatoes.
So I waited and waited, until the stalks began to wilt a bit, and then I knew (because I had been told the sign) that they were ready to pick.
I got out my gloves, got up on the little hill and began to dig and pick the potatoes from the ground. I cooked some up that night and they were delicious. I was glad I had waited until the right time to pick up the potatoes.
I was glad that someone told me the signs to watch for, or all of the potatoes would have been very small. Although I did not have to do much with the potatoes once they had been planted, I had to keep watch on them to make sure the soil did not get too dry in the hot summer heat. I had to watch to see when they were ready.
Advent is actually all about the wait. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas we also recognize that we are waiting for the return of Christ. In Mark 13 Jesus tells his followers about the signs, and he charges his followers to keep alert because they won’t know the time.
So keep watch, live in the now. Don’t be consumed wondering is this going to be the day, or is that going to be the day? The truth is none of us knows, they key is to live like today is the day.