Bible Study by Pastor Mario
November 28th from 2-3:30 pm
Church's Gathering Place
The central idea Hamilton presents is that Advent and Christmas are not isolated events but the beginning of a much larger narrative. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is just the starting point for a story that encompasses Jesus' life, teachings, ministry, death, and resurrection. It is a story that transcends the boundaries of time and continues to shape our lives throughout the year.
In Luke 2:29-32, we encounter Simeon's prophetic prayer, which speaks of Jesus as the source of God's salvation and a light for revelation. But Simeon goes further, foretelling that Jesus will reveal the innermost thoughts and motivations of many, and that opposition and grief will be part of his journey, ultimately leading to his crucifixion. This underscores that the Christmas story is a prelude to a more profound and challenging narrative.
Anna, an 84-year-old widow and prophet, adds another layer to the story. Her praise of God and declaration about the child reveal that Christmas will climax in our redemption. Just as redemption was used to free slaves or those imprisoned by debt, Jesus's birth represents the ultimate redemption, freeing humanity from sin.
In Chapter 1 of "Incarnation," Hamilton draws a thought-provoking parallel between the extravagance of modern-day presidential elections and the humble campaign of Jesus, the true King. He juxtaposes the opulence and power associated with presidential inaugurations against the modest circumstances of Jesus' birth in a stable. While politicians vie for wealth and authority, Jesus campaigned on a message of love, humility, kindness, and care for the marginalized.
- Is there something wrong with the current profile of politicians? Especially when you compare it to Christ's Example?
Jesus, born in a stable, grew up humbly, and called for a different kind of leadership.
He defied expectations, eschewing power and wealth in favor of compassion and service.
Today, millions acknowledge Jesus as their King, and his teachings continue to influence the world. As Christians, our allegiance to Jesus transcends political affiliations and worldly loyalties. We are called to live out his teachings, embody his values, and bear witness to his rule in our families, workplaces, and communities.
Furthermore… we actually began our Session 1 considering the epilogue… I mean why save the best for last.. In the epilogue, we are to imagine or even consider the end of this season already… Imagine As we pack up our decorations, bid farewell to the festive season, and return to our daily routines, it's tempting to think of Advent and Christmas as a beautiful but fleeting moment in time. However, the wisdom found in Adam Hamilton's book "Incarnation" reminds us that the message of Advent and Christmas goes far beyond the season itself.
Would you allow yourself to consider 30 days from today…
1. How has this 2023 Christmas been different? Or more helpful than previous Christmases?
2. Why was this 2023 Christmas more meaningful? Or less meaningful than anticipated?
3. What would you do differently?
These questions prompt us to consider the depth of our experience during this Christmas season. Perhaps we found a deeper sense of joy, peace, or connection with the birth of Jesus. Or maybe it felt less meaningful due to the distractions of modern life. Reflecting on these questions can guide us in shaping future celebrations.
In conclusion, Advent and Christmas are not mere observances but the commencement of a timeless narrative. They remind us that Jesus is not just a historical figure but our eternal King, whose kingdom represents the pinnacle of human history. As we put away our Christmas decorations, let us carry the message of Advent and Christmas with us throughout the year, embodying the teachings of our King and bringing light into the darkness of our world.
Just on Monday Next week, December 4, from 2-3:30 pm
We will consider Session II of the book “Incarnation” by Adam Hamilton
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