The lead up to Christmas can be such a busy time and it is easy to lose sight of what Christmas is really all about. This series of thoughts for advent are designed to help us to focus on the events surrounding the birth of Jesus.
I hope and pray that these reflections will help to keep us focused on the real meaning of CHRISTmas during this busy season of advent.
Advent 1: Surprised by an Angel (Luke 1)
Zechariah was in the temple where God’s presence lived, so why was he surprised to meet an angel?
Do we still believe that God can do the impossible or have we come to think that the impossible is greater than God?
Zechariah was unable to speak but his faith and relationship with God thrived despite this. When life is frustrating do we turn towards God or drift away from him?
Advent 4: The God of Miracles (Luke 1)
The sick twisted pain inside of Elizabeth had been replaced by the feeling of her child growing within and she was so grateful to God.
Advent 5: God is in the Ordinary (Luke 1)
Meeting an angel is probably not what you would expect to happen when you are doing something ordinary like the dishes or working on your wedding dress!
Advent 6: A Special Child (Luke 1)
Jesus was running the universe with his Father one minute & in the next he was a foetus. Why would he do this? Why would he limit himself to the confines of a human body?
Advent 7: Mary says YES (Luke 1. 39-56)
It’s astonishing that Mary said yes so quickly because becoming miraculously pregnant was going to cause her some real problems
When we obey God, do we do so with joy or through gritted teeth?
Advent 9: Receiving a new Perspective from God (Matthew 1.18-25)
Joseph and the Angel: When we feel angry, confused or upset are we open to God so that we can receive his perspective and healing?
Advent 10: Jesus is God With Us (Matthew 1.22-23)
Have you ever wondered why the angel said that Jesus would be called Immanuel?
Advent 11: Change Takes Time (Luke 1.57-80)
Nearly a year earlier Zechariah hadn’t believed what God had promised but over time his faith had grown.
A decree from Augustus caused Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. God had previously said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, so was Jesus born there becasue of the will of Augustus or God?
The Road to Bethlehem was a hard place to be for Mary & Joseph. God didn’t transport them miraculously but he was with them for every step of the way.
Joseph must have knocked on lots of the doors of his family members in Bethlehem but none of them had any room for Mary and himself.
Jesus being born in a stable reminds us that God isn’t fussy about where his presence lives. Do you have room in your life for Jesus?
What does it tell us about God’s priorities that the shepherds were the first people who he tells about the arrival of his son, the saviour of the world?
Before their encounter with the angels, the shepherds had no expectation that God knew or cared about people like them but they were about to learn the truth and if God was communicating with them then they were in!
The journey of the Magi started hundreds of miles from Bethlehem but it also started hundreds of years earlier when the angel Gabriel visited Daniel.
Instead of waiting in isolation from God and getting frustrated, Simeon and Anna were waiting with God and getting excited.
The Magi traveled to find Jesus which is wonderful, but they were led to him through astrology which feels err, a bit embarrassing.
Have you ever wondered what the unusual gifts of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh symbolized?
There is a part of the Christmas story that I don’t recall seeing in many or even possibly any Nativity plays. As we face up to the darkness, we will see the light appear to shine even more brightly.
Mary, Joseph and Jesus escaped in the night. They left behind everything that was familiar and traveled to live in a foreign land so that they could survive.
What do we really need for Christmas?