Life has a way of becoming mundane, ordinary, dull, and burdensome. We can get bogged down in our busyness, weighed down by burdens. It’s easy to lose our way, to lose sight of our God-given purpose.
One of the ways I remind myself of purposefulness of life is through the Advent journey, the four-week-long walk toward the Christmas celebration. Music, worship, scripture, and fellowship are all part of my meaningful celebration of Advent and Christmas. But there is more we Christ-followers can practice during Advent. We can commit ourselves to a missional outlook. What does this mean?
First , it means being purposeful. But it is more. It involves moving outside our comfortable circles of life and relationships to reach those of whom we are not always aware. Being missional is thinking and living outside the box. It is looking outward, beyond our closest circles of family and friends. How might we celebrate Advent and Christmas in a missional way?
- Remembering that God left the safety of heaven to come to earth as one of us. He took a great risk in doing so; and he paid a price, a huge price. Remembering that God is missional in his character; God has a mission in this world and has gone before us. So wherever we go, God is already there to hold us, to empower us.
- Looking outward for that person in the office, our school, or our neighborhood who seems lonely, or is in obvious need, and figuring out some way to reach out to that person. It may be a box of cookies, a note of encouragement, a kind word, expressing an interest in that person, inviting that person to lunch or dinner.
- Looking outward to the stranger at the checkout counter, the custodian in your school or office, the attendant at the cleaners. We could greet that person with a smile, ask about them, pray for them.
- Looking outward to children and finding a way to encourage them, to love them.
- Looking outward to people who are confined to their homes, assisted living or nursing homes and joining with a group to go sing carols to them.
- Looking outward and helping with our Ridgecrest School ministry in expressing appreciation to the teachers and staff.
- Looking outward to families who lack the financial resources to purchase toys and new gifts for their children, and bringing a toy or giving a gift to Second Mile Pride for Parents. Through this ministry, we help children by helping their parents provide for their own children so that they will get the joy of giving gifts to their children. This builds dignity.
- Looking outward to those who have no relationship with a church and inviting them to join you for worship or a fellowship event.
- Looking out to those who may not know God and sharing with them the reason for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus
- (I Peter 3:15)
- Looking outward to your neighbors and extending the gift of a friendly greeting.
- Looking outward to the person who is struggling in life and giving the gift of your time in listening to them.
Remember, God alerted us to his coming in the Old Testament prophecies, but some missed his presence in Jesus.
Remember, Jesus told us that we might see him when we help those who are hungry, lonely, without the basic needs for life. As we walk this Advent journey toward the celebration of Christmas, may we choose to practice missional living, looking outward toward others.
Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ