A common word heard in the Church community this time of year is “Advent.” It is a noun that means that something waited for is finally here. Something important has occurred. With the ubiquitous presence of smartphones, for example, the advent of the next generation of (pick your favorite brand) is enough for some people to wait in longs line (queues, for my European readers) in order to have the privilege of paying an outrageous sum of money to have better “bells and whistles” on your cellphone than the cellphone you’re replacing. Everyone experiences advent in some context.
In the broader Church community, Advent refers to the first coming of Jesus as the promised Messiah (Hebrew version of Christ), the spiritual basis for the holy-day, Christmas. Brief sidebar here: Messiah/Christ means GOD’s Anointed One. The Church also anticipates a second Advent in the return of Jesus (that certainly would qualify as being pretty important), something promised multiple times in the documentation of prophecies in both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and in the New Testament.
So now that the primer is out of the way, let me get to what’s on my mind. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before, but I’m now struck by the thought that the root of Adventure is Advent. Am I the only one caught by this? It’s doubtful, but I don’t ever recall anyone talking about this.
An adventure is the experience of something exciting, bold and maybe even risky. There is, at its core, the idea of an arriving or a happening as a result of this exciting, bold, and/or risky step. Adventure has described my life from the day I became a follower of Jesus. My arrival at this choice to belong to Him and subsequent, related choices in the decades following, can be characterized by all three words: exciting, bold and risky. My life with Christ has been an adventure. Not that most days have been high mountaintop experiences or low-in-the valley challenges, but on the whole, this is a life I could never have foreseen or planned, nor would I would trade it for anything other.
Of course, there have been scary times, rocky places, high moments and some lows. There have been questions by others about the wisdom and practicality of my commitments. I’ve had to walk away from some folks who couldn’t get it and from vocational and personal pathways incongruent with this life. I was once told, after resigning from a pretty lucrative career in order to begin preparing for pastoral ministry, that it was like I was bungy-jumping naked from the 57th floor of the high rise I worked in. There’s a picture for you…a scary one on multiple levels! I was actually in an office on the 57th floor when I was told this.
I’ve had to sacrifice in multiple ways, including my right to define my own morality. And I’m not alone in this…my wife, partner, and best friend chose to come along for the ride (thankfully!) knowing that it would cost her, too.
Still, the pluses have been so much greater, in quality and quantity, than anything I have sacrificed, the most significant being that I “know a living Savior who’s in the world today” up close and personally. This is not a cliché. I know Him and He knows me; and because of this I take time to count my blessings, and man, there are so many and often beyond my comprehension! More than once He has spoken to me in as close to being an audible voice without actually being audible, including once while I was driving alone on the Penna. Turnpike wrestling with a Big problem. His presence in that car was so tangible, I literally turned to look at the passenger seat to see who was talking. I can go on and on, but I won’t.
My point is that because of the first Advent of Christ, I have experienced a great adventure. And it’s not over! I, like everyone else, don’t know how many remaining days I have, but as long as I’m here, I look forward to the Advent of Christ still to come. That will usher in the ultimate adventure for “no eye has seen nor ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived the things GOD has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Blessings to you and yours this Christmas because He’s real and He is for real.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2020. All rights reserved to text content unless noted otherwise.