St Augustine reminds us that the first coming of the Christ was in the obscurity of a manger in an unregarded town; the second will be in the sight of the whole world. When he first came, no one but his own recognised him; when he comes again, the good and the bad will know him. When he came first, he came to be judged; when he comes again, it will be to judge. He was silent, as the prophet foretold, at his trial; he will not be silent at the last judgement.
The ‘all’ to whom this is addressed as the elect of his church, and his words are an encouragement to all ages until He shall come again.
At this point in Advent, it is a good reminder to us all that whatever the hour – and no-one but the Father knows it – our own hour will come sooner, in all probability. Do we live as though that was so? Are we mindful that this very night our soul might be required of us? How would it be if that were to be the case – are the wicks of our candles trimmed and is there oil in our lamps?
The one thing we know is that we shall have to account for what we have done. But we are told another thing to give us good cheer – that to those who repent and follow Him, forgiveness is given. So, this Advent season, let us do both those things.