"In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away." (Matthew 24:38-39)
One thing that struck me about this passage was just how "busy" we can be while still being "asleep". With the people before the flood, it wasn't that they were living idle lives. It takes a lot of effort to create the food and drink and to have enough wealth for weddings and starting families. But they weren't living, just going with the flow of life. This isn't bad in of itself, but unlike Noah, they weren't bringing God into the equation and actively listening to how He was calling them to repentance and relationship. So the floods came and interrupted their lives and for them it was too late to make the changes that they needed.
God may have promised to never destroy mankind with a flood again, but He does still come into our lives like a flood in our own day to day. I know for myself the rudest awakenings have not been while I was taking a lazy Saturday or vacation, but in the middle of a hectic week of work and living daily life. When I have let life, compulsion, and obligation decide what I am doing rather than listening to see if God might have different plans, I've run into burnout, apathy, and feeling less myself. Then big things happen outside of my control and I find I'm not prepared, ultimately waking me up to how much on auto-pilot my life has become. But when I have been more attuned to what God is doing in my life and what He is calling me to, even when the floods of life come, I have felt more at peace and able to trust that I will be brought to safety.
This is the first Sunday of Advent and this reading reminded me just how easily we can fill this season with things to do. Many of them can be good things, like family get-togethers, sharing thoughtful gifts, and parties with co-workers and friends. But with all this going on, we can blink and Christmas comes and goes. My hope for this season is that I can practice intentionality and "awakeness" so that I can prepare my heart for the coming of Christ.