November 27, 2022: Wake Up. Be Alert. Notice.

First Sunday of Advent

Wake Up. Be Alert. Notice.

Wake up! Notice! This impending “end times” message of today’s Gospel (Matthew 24:36–44) was a wake-up call to followers of Jesus who might have been half asleep, even in the physical presence of Jesus. It is set within the apocalyptic narrative of first-century Judaism.

I was recently moved by a 2022 wake-up call. As a cancer survivor, I have been drawn to the writings of Kate Bowler, a young mother who is also a cancer survivor. In her Joyfully Mediocre: Summer Blessing Series she shared:

Blessed are the noticers.
The ones who see the story in its fullness.
Blessed are the attend-ers.
The witness-bearers.
The story holders . . .
Blessed are those who are amazed by a life lived
in its fragility, its brevity, its beauty.
Blessed are the ones who stand close enough to say

For me, “Behold” is the fruit of an alert, vigilant spirit that seeks Christ at any time, in any form. Today is our first, and last, moment to be “noticers.” We live in the fragility, brevity, and beauty of the present moment. In this heightened awareness, we live the prayer taught by Jesus: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as in heaven.”

For this moment in the time of Advent,

Let go of yesterday.
Worry not about tomorrow.
Wake Up. Be Alert. Notice.
Stand close enough to say, “BEHOLD.”

Jeff Coppage, interim pastor, Union Cross Moravian Church
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

*Kate Bowler, from a podcast interview with Ann Patchett on Everything Happens. Used with permission. For more information, see