The Unexpected Visitor (Dec)
Advent 2021 (28th November - 25th December). See the Resource Pack PDF for information on the weekly subthemes and the daily prompts and Bible readings which shape our Daily Worship. See the Discussion Group Questions PDF to see the material adapted for small Connect groups or personal Bible study.
History Has Meaning
During the period of Advent we’re going to follow the unfolding story of the preparation for the birth of Jesus as told by Luke the physician. At the outset of his gospel he makes it plain that the story he will tell is not fictitious but has been verified by eye witnesses. He opens his account of the life of Jesus by introducing us to two contrasting characters: Zechariah the elderly priest and Mary a young teenager preparing for her wedding day in the near future.
Both of these characters have an encounter with a visitor, you might say from another dimension, a visit that alters their lives and indeed the whole course of history. Luke introduces us to a narrative that brings Heaven and Earth together. A narrative in which God uses the most unexpected of people to become his agents of change in the world.
Over the next few weeks of Advent we’re going to take time to study Luke’s text a little closer and see what unexpected insights we will uncover. Moving from conversations of disbelief to belief we will uncover the Jerusalem Praise Sessions and finally we’ll discover extracts from Mary’s diaries, recalling insights that will shed light on the magic of Christmas that goes beyond mythical imaginings of fairies and Santa Claus. Insights that open us up to a spiritual reality inviting us to literally consider the consequences of Heaven touching Earth. Insights that create mystery and faith introducing us to the God with whom nothing is impossible. Such realities of faith far outstretch our minds beyond the predictable commercialisation of a white Christmas; to consider the enormity of what it truly means to say, “Emmanuel” — God is with us.
It is our hope that as you use the material this Advent that you will be drawn into the enormity of what Christmas continually points to. A mark in time, a BC and and an AD, when everything changed and history took on its real meaning and significance. Luke seeks to direct our thinking this way by rooting all he shares in a time and location verified by eye witnesses. Today we who believe are invited to join that great company of believers who are open to the fresh reality that God is moving among us through the power and presence of his Holy Spirt.
'Emmanuel' — God is with us
Each week of the four week theme runs Sunday-Saturday and has its own subtheme, which contains daily Bible readings and prompts for thought (see the Resource Pack PDF for more information). See the Discussion Group Questions PDF to see the material adapted for personal Bible study or small Connect groups.