Introduction from Chris Wright, Langham Partnership’s Global Ambassador and Ministry Director 

The clue is in the name, “Advent.” It means “a coming.” And, of course, we celebrate it at a time of year when Christmas is coming—and that’s the problem. We tend to associate it only with the first coming of Christ. But in fact, the God of the Bible is the Advent God throughout. God keeps on coming–past, present, and future.

God comes in every act of the great drama of Scripture (as I explore in my own small Advent devotional, Rejoice! Advent in All the Scriptures, InterVarsity, 2019). God came in creative power “in the beginning.” God came to Adam and Eve in their rebellion. God came to Abraham and Sarah promising blessing to all nations on earth. God the Son came as the Word made flesh. God comes as the Spirit empowering the church for mission till the end of the age. And God will come again to judge and cleanse the earth and dwell with us in the new creation.

But it was not always obvious–even to those who longed and looked for God’s coming. “Are you the Coming One,” John the Baptist told his disciples to ask Jesus, “or should we look for somebody else?” And Jesus answered by pointing to what was happening all around Him in His ministry, while quoting words of Scripture which had prophesied that those very things would happen when God Himself showed up (Luke 7:18-23).
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
Your God will come …
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
And the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then the lame will leap like the deer,
And the mute tongue shout for joy” (Isaiah 35:4-6).

Who then is Jesus? Nothing less than the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, come in the flesh of the Messiah. The One who came repeatedly to rescue His people has now come in person to save the world. Advent indeed!

That is why it is so important for us to spend Advent focusing on Jesus, as the multiple portraits and titles in this book help us to do. For in Jesus, we meet the God who came as promised in the Scriptures, who keeps on coming as promised through His Spirit, and will come again in glory as promised by Himself and His apostles. Here indeed is the God of Israel in our midst, who “tabernacled among us” at His first coming. And here is the Lamb on the throne of the universe who, at His second coming, will be truly and fully Immanuel, “God with us,” when God’s dwelling place will be with us forever (Revelation 21:3). “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)!

The great thing about this book, however, is not just that it gives us multiple portraits of Jesus, but that it does so through multiple eyes and voices from around the whole global body of Christ, and especially from the Majority World. We need that kaleidoscopic lens on Jesus, for our own eyes are often blinkered and the voices we listen to in our own culture may be only echoes of ourselves. Langham Partnership is privileged to be giving voice to sisters and brothers from all over the world, and we pray that you will be blessed as you walk with Jesus in their company this Advent.

Chris Wright, Global Ambassador and Ministry Director Langham Partnership