Advent is about beginning with the end: preparing for the final stage of God's new mission that resulted from our mission failure.
For many of us, Advent is the launching pad to Christmas morning; a twenty-four-day countdown to stockings and presents. We don't think about Advent as first being about the second coming. After all, it's been two millennia since Christ was born, crucified, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Spirit. And for two thousand years, we've been living somewhere between forgetting about or fretting over his return.
John 3:16-17 gives us Christ's mission: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it" (1996 NLT).
Jesus' silent-night arrival in the manger is the first part of that mission. His trumpet-blasting arrival in the clouds is the last part. Taking the two seasons together, Omar Rikabi shows how preparing for this kind of Advent before we celebrate Christmas is how we get in on God's rescue mission.
Omar Rikabi serves as a United Methodist pastor in suburban Dallas. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters: Sadie, Norah, and Lilly. You can follow him online at omarrikabi.com.
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