Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:42).

…we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye… (1 Corinthians 15:51,52).

Two articles in my hometown paper caught my eye over Thanksgiving. One was from Lancaster, PA. A woman encountered a cow standing in the road. She was concerned that the animal might be hit by another motorist, so the woman tried to shoo Bessie off the highway. She got a head-butt down a hill for her troubles.

In New Jersey, a little girl was knocked down by deer during a 5K charity run. Apparently the animal was frightened and confused by all the noise of the event. The deer ran away, and fortunately the girl was not hurt.

Other than proving again the old saying about no good deed going unpunished, these stories remind me that anything can happen, at any time, for good or ill. Tragedy can strike, but so can grace touch us. All it takes is a “moment, the twinkling of an eye,” a nanosecond, to alter our lives maybe forever.

Advent is a time to reflect on and be prepared (as much as possible) for such uncertainty in life, to hear the words of Jesus that we do not know when our Lord will come, whether in death or to right the wrongs of history, be it our own or the whole planet’s.

When we got home from our Thanksgiving visit, we watched again Memoirs of a Geisha, a powerful film. One line said by “the Chairman” has stayed with me: “When life goes well, it’s a sudden gift.”

May you be given such a wonderful sudden gift this season.

© 2010 Tom Cheatham