We all know when Christmas comes.

Dec. 25 is highlighted on just about every calendar you can get a hold of. We celebrate the birth of Jesus on this date, so we all know that Christ has already come once. But what about the second coming of Christ? Do we know when that promise He gave to us will be revealed?

Not one person has the answer to this. So we are given the season of Advent to prepare for the unknown.

In the lectionary readings for this first Sunday of Advent, Mark’s Gospel reminds us of the words of Jesus as He describes His second coming. He talks of Jesus arriving in the clouds with great power and glory. A scene is painted for us of a vision full of awe and wonder as this will be unlike anything we have ever dreamed of. Angels fill the air and all of the Saints will join together in one massive tribute to the second arrival of Christ.

Unlike the scenes often depicted in paintings and sculptures of the birth of Jesus, where we sing hymns proclaiming “All is calm,” there isn’t much calm anticipated in the second coming. It appears the scene Jesus sets up for us here is one where we can expect some dramatic changes.

Many scholars, prophets, theologians and mystics have attempted to describe this event in detail. A few have even made bold predictions that they knew when the end of the world would be (and failed badly as our existence here gives proof). So if none of these respectful – though often not thought of that way – people were wrong, a question emerges perhaps more important than the “when” of it happening. A question arises that asks “What shall we do while we wait?”

The best answer I ever received about this comes from Jesus himself. All of the Gospels teach of the Good News that is not only here but yet to come and yet to be. Until that time, which we may or may not see, the answer is to live the Gospels.

If you are familiar with the words and life of St. Francis, you will know his answer was to preach the Gospel, using words only when necessary. The words of Jesus in how to prepare for His second coming is one of work.

We are to stay busy. We are to Love God, forgive our enemies, feed the hungry, shelter and clothe the homeless, heal the sick, visit the prisoners and do so with an attitude of not worrying about when the second coming will be. That happens in God’s time. Our time is to be used in doing the work Jesus asks of us while we wait.

Here’s wishing you all a very peace-filled Advent and a very Merry Christmas. celebrating the birth of Jesus, as we wait with busy hands for the second coming of Christ.