This month we will be sharing a collection of short readings by Northeastern Seminary alumni as they reflect on and rejoice in the gifts of God's grace and the signs of Christ present during this Advent Season. Today's guest post was written by Pedro Rios.
I was curious to know a proper definition of advent, so I looked it up. The explanation was “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” My immediate response was to think of the Lucan pericope that declares, “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end (Luke 1:30-33, NRSV).” The definition was correct: the arrival of a notable “person” is Jesus!; the “thing” would be the throne where Christ is, at the right hand of the Father; and the “event” would be that the Lord’s Kingdom would have no end.
Advent then, is the arrival of an inordinate gift. This gift is what Christians celebrate in this joyful time and season. This gift means freedom and eternity for those who believe. The apostle told us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8-9, NRSV).” This gift is truth; it’s free; and it’s for you.
During this season, I would like to encourage you to celebrate this free gift; free for us, but costly for one—Christ. The Lord said that he had come to give us life, and give it to us abundantly (John 10:10). Let us share this free gift of life with someone this season. This may be family, our neighbor, our co-workers, or even a stranger.
Some get very anxious this season by trying to express their love to others with material gifts, and while those are great (I certainly like my share), it is about the eternal gift, the gift of grace. Grace is magnificent and it can be shared with anyone at any given time. Maybe you can share it with someone you love (or dislike), just as it has been shared with you. Perhaps, the Holy Spirit would like us to share our precious time this season instead of a material gift. Maybe, just maybe, we are to visit someone who we have been avoiding forever. We may think that they do not deserve it, well, neither did we when the Lord said “it is finished.” My point about advent then, although very unorthodox, is that we dare to share a free gift with someone this season. This could be our spouses, family, church, and whoever else the Lord puts in our path. This is advent; this is Christmas; this is the gift of grace.
Pedro Rios, M.A. ’13, lives in Rochester, N.Y. and is pursuing a doctor of strategic leadership degree at Regent University. He serves as director of Grace-N-Christ Kingdom Ministries.