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Written by Nancy Ruegg for “From the Inside Out” @ http://nancyaruegg.com
View original post @ https://nancyaruegg.com/2019/12/12/advent-ure/
December 12, 2019 by Nancy Ruegg
With Advent near the surface of my thinking these days, I was primed to notice a new-to-me phenomenon in the word adventure.
It begins with Advent!
I don’t know how I’ve missed that similarity before. But once the word-within-a-word jumped out at me, I began to wonder: Are the two words related or is it just coincidence? Might there be significance to the similarity?
Research uncovered several interesting insights.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Advent as “the arrival of a notable person or thing.” It comes to us from Latin; ad- means “to” and venire means “come” (1).
Adventure refers to an undertaking that may involve danger and unknown risks, and/or an exciting or remarkable experience (2).
Etymologically the words are more like distant cousins than siblings. But they do come together at Christ’s advent into the world—and into our individual lives—because he does offer grand adventure—the adventure of faith.
Mary certainly chose such an adventure as Gabriel announced she would conceive the Son of God. “I am the Lord’s servant,” she affirmed. “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
Joseph also stepped into the adventure of the Messiah’s birth, risking the derision of his community (Matthew 1:18-25). If his neighbors didn’t know it yet, they’d learn soon enough that his betrothed was pregnant.
Neither Joseph nor Mary knew the dangers they’d face (including King Herod’s paranoia) and the uncertainties of parenting the perfect Son of God who would be misunderstood, scorned, and even murdered.
For their adventure, the shepherds ignored the first rule of sheep-tending: never leave the flock to fend for themselves. Instead, these men threw caution to the wind and participated in a remarkable experience. They were among the first to see the long-anticipated Christ Child (Luke 2:8-18).
The wise men most likely adventured for two years, traveling to Judea from Babylon or Persia in order to worship the newborn King (Matthew 2:1-12). Imagine the stories of danger, risk, and astonishment they had to tell.
And now it’s our turn to choose. Will we step into the adventure of faith as they did—not knowing exactly what will happen and not being in control?
Yes, we might encounter danger or risk, but we are also guaranteed remarkable experiences, including:
Being used by God for eternal good, as we offer ourselves as his servants, just like Mary did.
Becoming the best version of ourselves as God works within us, developing our character and maturity (Galatians 5:22-23).
Looking for the miracle-drenched moments—taking holy delight in the ordinary (Psalm 40:5).
Getting acquainted with the Bible, finding sincere pleasure in knowing God’s Word. The more we know him, the more we love him, and the more wonder we experience (Psalm 112:1).
Participating in God’s work through prayer (James 5:16b).
Two years ago our son and daughter-in-law gave us three wooden Christmas ornaments, created by a girl overseas. We’ll call her Kiana. Kiana works in a factory run by a missionary couple sent out from our church.
On the tag attached to the ornaments was Kiana’s name and picture. Her sparkling eyes and joyous smile grabbed my heart and seemed to indicate Kiana just might know Jesus.
I began to pray for this young woman on a regular basis, thanking God for his promised provision and protection over her. I asked God to honor Kiana, bringing her to Jesus if she did not know him yet, and using her to impact others if she was already a believer.
Not long ago, those missionaries came home on furlough. I had the chance to ask about Kiana and learned she is a sweet Christian and even leads a Bible study.
My eyes filled with tears as I realized the privilege God had given me, to participate with him in the work he’s doing half-way around the world—through the adventure of prayer.
(One of the ornaments created by Kiana)
‘You see how gracious God is? Advent is only the beginning. The joy of this season can become an extended adventure that unfolds day after day, year after year, as we make ourselves available to him.
And that’s not all. The remarkable experience of heaven is yet to come.
The question is: will we embrace the adventure that begins with Advent, or will we withdraw?
- Mirriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, 2001.