Gifts of Advent: Love Simply
December 2021

Advent is a season of reflection but also of anticipation. It means “coming” or “arrival”. For the Church, it means the arrival of Christ. Oswald J. Smith said, "We talk of the second coming. Half the world has never heard of the first." This month we are reflecting on the first advent and remembering some moments when our missionaries experienced the gifts of hope, love, joy, and peace on the field as they prepare for and anticipate the second advent. 

By Michael Smiel

Love can be a difficult concept to wrap your mind around but it doesn’t have to be. I find it’s best defined by our actions; giving someone the perfect gift at Christmas, sharing a meal together and listening to what the other has to say with care, laughing or weeping with them. For God, he “so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). For Nathan Garrett, a missionary in Romania, he developed a friendship with his barber. 

Many people hear the word “missionary” and think of spiritual giants who live in difficult places and do difficult things to deliver the good news of Jesus. Nathan says, in some ways “that may be true. But in other ways, we are all called to mission, to share the gospel with others.” But who are those others? They are the people we see day to day. We may overlook dozens of people who have become commonplace in our lives. But “God can use simple relationships...if you have a barista you go to at a coffee shop consistently, there’s an opportunity for you to engage with them, not just one time but over a period of time. Who knows what God can do through that” says Nathan. 

Nathan has developed a friendship with Ovidju, his barber, over time. He can share spiritual truths and enter into deep conversations with him because of their friendship. He says that one of the ways he has done this is by giving Ovidju Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis in Romanian and asked him about it while he got his haircut. Nathan said that as he gets to know Ovidju better, “the burden for his salvation then becomes greater... that’s another reason for us to develop relationships with unbelievers and to really spend time with them, because the closer you are in a relationship, the more you love that person...”  

Nathan’s attitude while he shares the gospel with others is encouraging. He says, “we don’t need to be bashful in those conversations. Because the power is in the gospel. The power is in the Word of God. All we need to do is speak it... we don’t have any power in and of ourselves. We just need to be faithful to share what God is teaching us...” This can be done with anyone in our lives. All we have to do is, “take advantage of the relationships that you have with people especially unbelievers who are willing to talk about these things. You might be surprised just how easy it becomes.” 

Who is in your everyday routine that you can begin to love and start a friendship with? 


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