The season of Advent has begun. I’ve [Justin] always loved the idea of Advent. I like the traditions and the music and the Scripture. I like how it’s meant to be a long, gentle lead-up to the wonderful celebration of Christmas.
I like how it’s meant to keep us focused on the coming miracle. The word advent, in fact, comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.”
The thing is, though, I’ve never felt like I’ve done Advent very well. It seems like, every year, I begin the Advent season with some big-ish, but not-very-well-formulated plans. And it always seems like I end up doing less than I would have liked during those precious 4+ weeks. This was true even as a kid. There were a number of years where my sister and I would have fun creating an Advent display (or whatever you’d call it) in our house—with some pine boughs and some candles. Then, without putting very much work into it, my family would find some readings . . . and we’d read through them on one of the four Sundays, maybe even two. Then, we’d forget the following Sunday . . . and the next thing we’d know, it would be Christmas.
Even though we’re older, Jennifer and I seem to repeat this pattern too. Great intentions, not much follow-through. Christmas sneaks up on us and we feel like, once again, we should have done more. We should have been more intentional. We should have done more to prepare ourselves, prepare our family, ahead of the blessed day.
So, this year . . . we’ve been doing some thinking. If we were to get more intentional, if we were going to break this pattern, and if we could choose anything, what would we do?
Well, after some thought, it finally dawned on us. At Gather Ministries, we try to ask ourselves the question, what’s the Bold Move? It’s always a good question. “It’s a question that challenges us to press our intellectual understanding of the truth of our King, Jesus Christ, into clear, practical action. It dares us to form Gospel words into living, breathing reality.” So, we’ve been asking ourselves that question once again—what’s our Bold Move for Advent? We’ve been asking ourselves, how can we, in the next four weeks, take what we know about Jesus and convert it into clear, practical action?
And here’s what we’ve come up with: to serve someone who is hurting. It’s not complicated. It’s not fancy. We just cannot think of a better preparation for Christmas, for the birth of our King, than by simply doing something that he might do. We just cannot think of a better preparation for Christmas than simply finding someone who is hurting and rolling up our sleeves and helping them.
So, that’s our challenge to you, the Holy Entangled, this 2014 Advent season. Grab your spouse and serve. It’ll be good for whomever you choose to serve, but it’ll be good for you too. We’ve talked about how important it is to be ‘on mission’ together: “There’s rarely anything better for a marriage than taking the focus off the marriage, entrusting the marriage to God and struggling beside one another toward something bigger and better than the marriage.”
So, let’s work on finding our Bold Moves together. Let’s get ‘on mission’ together. Let’s begin to keep our eyes open for people who are truly hurting—at our places of work, in our neighborhoods. Let’s come together as couples, and let’s use this Advent season as a time to prepare our hearts for Christmas by loving and serving just as Jesus taught us to love and serve.
Are you in? We’d love to hear about your plans. We’d love to hear about your Bold Moves. We’d love to hear about your experiences.