Ours is a faith of mind, heart, and body: holiness of life involves seeking consistency between belief and action. This conviction was the foundation of the UM4GI sermon series in November, which dealt with how our faith and our actions with money interact. What better way could we prepare for Advent than with a healthy discussion of faith and finances, of whole-life discipleship and making money serve our witness and mission? Afterall, the weeks leading up to Christmas do typically involve many financial interactions.
Yet, these weeks leading up to Christmas are more than just pre-Christmas preparation weeks. They’re their own season: Advent, which means, “Coming,” as in, “We’re preparing for the coming kingdom of God on earth as in heaven.” You see, the foundational beliefs of Advent are that Christ has come and that Christ will come again. And so, as people of a lived-out faith, our questions for Advent living are something like this: “Since God came into the world in Jesus, how ought we to live?” and “Since Jesus promised to return to bring the kingdom in full, how ought we to pass the time between now and then?” The challenge of the Christian life during Advent is in our answering of these questions. Here are some thoughts, Q&A-style.
Q:Christ came into the world and was fully present; what ways can we be more fully present to others?
A: Make a point to call, write, or visit with friends, family, and strangers. Serve at the Thanksgiving for Hope Harbor. Go to (and/or help with) the Live Nativity.
Q: Christ came to enrich lives; what ways can we enrich the lives of others, or be enriched ourselves?
A: Advent Study; Worship participation; Worship Leadership; Christmas Carols and Sides; decorating or undecorating the church, your own house, or another’s house.
Q: Christ is coming again; how can our lives point to this reality and how can we prepare to receive him as an honored and welcome guest?
A: Advent prayer/devotion/candle lighting practices; Giving gifts to strangers; Giving up worrying; Donating money and/or time to ministries that bring joy, wholeness, and life to others; check out last year’s daily Advent Conspiracy Christmas activities at um4gi.org/ministries/advent-conspiracy-2012/.
May we live our Advent faith together well.