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What have you learned?

If I said that a publishing company was offering you one million dollars to put together a book with all the lessons that you have learned in your lifetime, what would you put in it?

What are the essential lessons you’ve learned?

Don’t touch a hot stove? Don’t pick your nose in public? Remember to pay your taxes on time? Your wife is always, correct?

One of the ones I love, I read in a Boy Scout Merit Badge pamphlet. It was about the miracle of compound interest!

I read about it again the other day. 

This person was arguing that if every parent would put $100 a month into their child’s 529, in 18 years it would equal about $35,000. Think about that!

Then if the child didn’t go to college or if you didn’t need the money for them to go, you could then put it all into a Roth IRA for them, because then when they turned 65 there would be $1,000,000 dollars available for their retirement!

What lesson have you learned?

Maybe you learned it from a book or a lecture. Or maybe you learned it from experience. 

One wonderful young man bought a used car and was told at the time of purchase that it leaked oil and he needed to keep a close eye on the dipstick. 

He didn’t and the car’s engine seized up on Route 17. Lesson learned!

So, when Jesus says to his disciples - as they were sitting on the Mount of Olives - “Learn a lesson from a fig tree”, perhaps we should pay attention.

There are signs that things are happening, opportunities for us to prepare, to be more aware, to think a bit deeper about what is developing in our midst.

Our tendency is to be so busy we miss the signs!

Or, we might just be intentionally oblivious, because if we don’t know anything, we can pretend everything is going well in our happy little world.

But then there is that fig tree. 

It’s getting leaves again and you know what that means. Figs are on the way, and spring is coming, and we need to get prepared!

So, look around…

What signs are there that something big is happening? What do you see? 

I’ll bet you see the Advent wreath! And you think, yep, there is a baby going to be born in Bethlehem. 

We even decorated to celebrate his coming! We even have lovely candles, and garland everywhere

It all tells us that we are just four Sundays from Christmas!

A friend has one of those chocolate Advent calendars, where you open a door each day of Advent and behind it is a chocolate. 

According to her calendar Christmas is on Wednesday! 

Imagine the poor guy with the little whiskey sampler behind each door!

And, no lie, Christmas is coming!

But if that’s all you see, I hate to tell you this, but you have missed the point of Advent! 

Yes, the baby is coming to Bethlehem!

But so much more importantly, Advent is a time to get ready once again for the arrival of the King. 

Enjoy Christmas, please do! But remember that is only the beginning of the story and not nearly the most important part.

The most important part we celebrated last Sunday. 

That Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and as his people we are making sure all year long, but especially during Advent, that the Kingdom is ready for the arrival of the King.

The King who come humble, riding on a donkey, into his Kingdom, the one in our hearts, the one in our lives, the one in our faith community!

We are preparing for his arrival, a place of welcome, a place of joy, a place of rejoicing, a place that is jubilant. 

A gathering of all those who are making a difference in this world. 

A place where all who love Jesus are welcome!

See the fig tree!

Or perhaps a bit clearer, see the Christmas tree and understand what it signifies!

That the King is coming - and already here in our midst.

Learn the lesson!