34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,* you did it to me.
The season of Advent is God appointed time, holy time, for celebrating God’s coming to us. We are celebrating the time God came to us as the babe in Bethlehem’s manger, and we are celebrating his coming to us in power at the end of the age, the parousia.
But in the celebration of Advent through the centuries, Christians also learned to look for other ways in which Jesus comes to us. Jesus is God-with-us not only at his first coming and his second coming, but he is God-with-us in the mundane, ordinary, everydayness of life. We cling to Jesus’ promise: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Edwin Markham in his fine poem, “How the Great Guest Came,” helps to remember to look for ways that Jesus might come to us today. Markham’s poem tells of Conrad, a kindly German cobbler who lives all alone. Early one morning the Lord appeared to Conrad in a dream and promised: “I’m coming your Guest to be!”
Eagerly Conrad sprang to his day, preparing for the coming of the Great Guest. Conrad washed the floor, shined the shelf, and spread his table. All the while Conrad busied himself he expectantly watched his door for the Great Guest’s coming to him.
Markham’s poem continues:
And his face grew still
As he watched for the shadow across the sill. He lived all the moments o’er and o’er,
When the Lord should enter the lowly door
The knock, the call, the latch pulled up,
The lighted face, the offered cup.
As Conrad had gone about his day he was not so busy that he did not care for three strangers who had come to his door – a cold beggar, a hungry woman, and a homeless child. Yet finally, as the day ebbed to a close Conrad’s Great Guest had not come. Confused, and sadly disappointed, Conrad knelt to pray:
What is it Lord, that your feet delay?
Did you forget that this was the day?
Then in the stillness of his heart Conrad heard the Great Guest speak:
Three times I came to your friendly door;
Three times my shadow was on your floor.
I was the beggar with the bruised feet;
I was the woman you gave to eat;
I was the child on the homeless street!
Until the Lord Christ comes at the end of the ages we will look daily for his coming to us in other people. For Jesus said that “as you did it” to the least of his brothers and sisters, we are doing it to him.
Read, Reflect, Respond, and Rest with today’s scripture text,
Matthew 25:34-40, and devotional.
Today’s Moments of Diaphany
- an answer to prayer
- evidence of his love and care
- evidence of his creative power and wisdom
- his help to do his work