The Meaning of Advent

Arriving with the Good News of Christ

Our Name

the importance of arriving

Advent means “arrival” or “coming.” Many of us are tempted to believe that we can live a good enough life or do the right things to make our way to God. We think that if we do enough of the right types of things, then God will allow us into His home. But the Bible tells us again and again that we are never the first movers in this relationship. God is always the initiator. He spoke all things into being; He created; and He pursues. He is the one who arrives. And we see this in the first advent of God.  
The First Advent
John begins his gospel by saying, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (ESV). God the Son came to us in the first advent: what the church calls the incarnation. He didn't wait for us to try and make our way to His heavenly abode.  He didn’t stand above us to lecture us or condemn us. He came to us. In fact, He became one of us, taking on flesh, pain, sorrows, and death.  
And God hasn’t stopped there. After Jesus came into this world to inaugurate the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven, after He died on the cross to atone for our sins, and after He was raised from the dead to defeat sin and death, He ascended to heaven to assume the throne. Scripture tells us that He will come again. And when He comes again, He is bringing the new heavens and the new earth with Him. John captures this in an image of the future in the book of Revelation 21:1-5a. He writes,  
[1] Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. [2] And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. [4] He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” [5] And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (ESV)
When Christ comes again, in the second advent, He will make all things new. Though He has already dealt with sin and death, it isn't until He comes again that death will be eradicated. But, as we wait for Him to come again, we wait with hope. And as we wait, we live in light of that hope—praying for and acting in the knowledge that God's Kingdom will come in bits and pieces even now, offering us glimpses of the way that it is supposed to be, the way it will ultimately be.  
In the middle of these two advents of Christ, there is a third advent. There is the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, to help us to remember all that He taught and accomplished (John 14:26), and to help us as we follow Him by faith. And Jesus tells us to follow Him in the same way that He Himself came. We are to leave our own comforts and to come into the places that He has called us. And so, in that way, we want to take the example of Christ's first coming to enter into the lives of our community. We want to bear witness to the coming of the Kingdom of God in its fullness in the future. And, we want to minister as the mouthpiece, the hands, and the feet of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 20:21).  

So, Advent Houston is a coming of a group of Christians to the Texas Medical Center, to Rice University, and to the surrounding neighborhoods to embrace, embody, and extend the grace of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit. 
"Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.' " - John 20:21

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