The Mission of Advent by Wayne Grant

The Mission of Advent by Wayne Grant

December is here! All around us are reminders of this special season. Music, color, presents, decorations—all tell us that it is that Christmas time of year. Christmas has been adopted by our culture and turned into a secular celebration—it becomes simply the “holiday season” or “Xmas.” However, Christmas continues to have a unique meaning to us as Christians. This time of joy, celebration, gift giving, and anticipation creeps up on us even when we are caught up in the frantic hustle.

Christmas has an added significance for those of us growing up in the Baptist tradition. We are challenged to take the focus away from ourselves and intentionally focus on the gift of Advent. At this time, we think and pray for those who are sharing God’s love around the world in so many different ways. In response to the giving spirit of Christmas we intentionally give of our resources to share this Good News. Why this tradition? With so many other things going on at this season, why think about missions? Why give now? Why distract ourselves with mission stories and mission projects?

If we pause to reflect, we can see how Advent and missions naturally connect. The relationship is very Biblical as it is a response to the dominant theme of sharing the Good News.

If missions are the going and sharing something, then God is the first missionary. At the very beginning, God reached out to Adam and Eve. Ever since, He has been reaching out to all of Adam’s children. Jesus, the baby in the manger, is God’s ultimate act in reaching out to His creation. In this light, Christmas and missions, whether around the world or across the street, are very much one and the same.

The apostle Paul would later write, “What I mean is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, no longer holding men’s misdeeds against them, and that he has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. We come therefore as Christ’s ambassadors.” (2 Corinthians 18:20 New English Bible)

So, at the time of Advent, the coming of Christ into our world, we also celebrate the challenge to be his voice, his hands, his feet in the world in which we live. We share our resources in order to accomplish this goal. So, yes, missions are very much a part of the story of Christmas.

Wayne Grant

Stewardship Team Chair