Don’t rush Advent–or the gospel

Candles

“Haste makes waste.”  We’ve all learned that some things just aren’t worth rushing.  Celebrating Advent is one of them.  Sharing the Gospel is another.

Advent is a slow and purposeful celebration. It cannot be hurried or abbreviated.  It is more like a buffet than a drive-through.  Each week’s candle kindles a new truth: hope, love, joy, and peace. The light of one glows onto the next until the final candle, representing the Saviour born in Bethlehem, is illuminated. If we rush through the holidays without taking time to reflect on these truths, Christmas loses its significance.

In many ways, Advent mirrors God’s unhurried but certain revelation to His people over the course of history. The Bible recounts for us how Old Testament men and women eagerly awaited the day when “The Saviour–The Promised One of God” would finally arrive.

It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
~Lamentations 3:26

And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.  ~Isaiah 25:9

 

Octavius Winslow, the 19th century Baptist preacher, commented on this very thing:

“It was the wisdom and the will of God that the revelation of Jesus… be not sudden but a gradual descent to the world.”
~ Octavius Winslow (1844) (1)

 

If God’s approach to saving mankind was unhurried and deliberate, and if Advent follows a similar cadence, why is it that we, His followers, so often share the Good News in such haste?  It is the most urgent of all messages, but if in our haste to share it, we abbreviate it unnecessarily our friends will likely miss the significance Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, many arrive at faith in Christ only after a long, slow journey of discovery. It takes time to consider the existence of a holy, powerful, creator God. Realities of sin and its consequences aren’t admitted to readily. Who Jesus is and why he came are truths that don’t always dawn on one quickly. It seems appropriate when we share the Good News, to follow a similar slow, deliberate cadence to that of the Bible itself. In doing so, we grant our friends time to realize, consider, and reflect on one element of God’s revelation at a time.

Each GoodSeed resource takes its cue from the architecture of Scripture itself. It’s an unhurried and purposeful journey through the Bible. Along the way, God has a way of slowly lighting the wick of people’s understanding. Dark corners of thinking are shined upon as questions are answered. The glimmer of one truth illuminates the next as God’s Word glows brighter and brighter until the Gospel–the Good News of Jesus Christ–finally makes sense. Like Advent candles, there is a celebration of the real hope, love, joy and peace that only God can give.

Here are two ideas of how you can share the Gospel before Christmas–and you don’t have to rush!

1. Share the gospel with a friend: Invite a friend to join you in reading one chapter of By This Name each day, starting on December 15th. At that pace you will arrive together at the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day… and you’ll finish the book before January 1st. Pray for your friend and plan to get together with him or her either during or after the holidays.

2. Build Christmas memories about Jesus with your children: Using The Lamb and some simple activities, in the days before Christmas you can give the children in your life memories that are all about Jesus. (Click here for all the inspiration and details.)

Bibliography:
(1) Winslow, Octavius. “The Glory of the Redeemer.” London: John F. Shaw, 1865. Repr., Pittsburgh: Soli Deo Gloria, 1997. 413pp.