What does Advent have to do with Life Together on Mission?
When we think of doing Life Together on Mission it probably most often conjures up thoughts about some sort of activity together (i.e. having a meal with your life group, praying together, playing together, building relationships with spiritually lost people and so on). This type of activity is good and we want to encourage each other to continue in it. We are called to make disciples and that means we are appropriately busy people working hard to make disciples in and for Kingdom of God.
Celebrating Advent, however, is not about a lot of outward activity. It’s about the inward activity that motivates the outward action. Advent is about reorienting your heart around Jesus. It’s about remembering why you do what you do as a follower of Jesus. You see you can be extremely active in all sorts of good things in the name of Jesus while you heart is far from Him (Mt 15.8). Chances are you have found yourself in this place plenty of times in your parenting or in your work or even in your mission to the spiritually lost—doing things for Jesus but not rightly sensing your own need for him. Without this personal and experiential awareness, all the good activity you do will likely turn into joyless, anxious, faithless work. The Advent season is an opportunity to let yourself feel your own deep need for Jesus. He came to save you because you need saving and He’s still doing that work. 1 Timothy 1.15 says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance, ‘Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.’” Embrace this truth this Advent season and let it season all of your activity with grace, patience, humility and love.
Advent also serves as a reminder that none of our disciple-making activity matters if Jesus had not come the first time inaugurating His Kingdom and breaking the power of sin and death. So, another way of celebrating Advent is to look in our Bibles and see ourselves in Israel’s story of failure, hope, and redemption. That story is our story. It gives us a place from which to make sense of life. We are part of a bigger drama that is unfolding and we are not the center of it. Jesus is the center of the story. He is the main character, the hero, the author, the director and so on. We are the rescued ones who now cheer Jesus on His victory and joyfully participate in his work until He returns. This is our story and we need to remember it often.
Advent is also a chance to remind yourself that while you are actively making disciples you are concurrently waiting for the second arrival of the King. Revelation 22.20 says, “Come, Lord Jesus.” It’s an expression of joyful expectation that our loving King will return and once and for all “make all things new.” Life Together on Mission doesn’t mean much if Jesus didn’t plan on coming back to visibly establish His kingdom. So take it to heart this Advent season. Jesus will return, so we make disciples in joyful expectation that we will see Him face to face some day.