Adult Sunday School Community Groups
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Church History in Plain Language
Led by our Pastors:
We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.I've been thinking of this as we come near to Christmas. How Jesus arrived in the mundane, giving up the glory that was inherently his. We like to doctor up the story, either in the direction of the ethereal, almost otherworldly birth with no pain and Mary serenely looking over baby Jesus all beautiful, neat and clean with light emanating from their faces, or in telling that he was born in a barn with animals and mayhem all around, along with a nasty innkeeper who wouldn't give Mary and Joseph a room for the night.
1 John 3:2
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:There are times when God just doesn't seem to make sense. Why put Joseph through the torment of thinking Mary had been unfaithful? Why put Mary in such a questionable position? I don't have any good answers for this, but that God works in our failings and weaknesses, and sometimes even in our strength. He chose Joseph, who showed himself a man of kindness and character, which of course he knew him to be. A man who listened to God, who paid attention to his dreams and didn't hesitate. This is the man whose obedience and quick action will later save Jesus from Herod's soldiers. This is the man who would raise God's son, who would raise God incarnate.
"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants for ever, even as he said to our fathers.Not only does Mary wait, but all of Israel has been waiting, looking for their redeemer and Messiah. There is joy in the annunciation and in the trusted, hopeful expectation. We have been told of the Messiah's return, when all will be put to rights.
A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.The first was like finding a treasure. It is a collection of stories Tolkien wrote for his children as Father Christmas over many years, complete with his illustrations. It is
|Letters From Father Christmas|
|The Jolly Christmas Postman|
|Santa's Favorite Story|
|Emma's Christmas Wish|
|The Story of Holly and Ivy|
|The Birds' Christmas Carol|
|Turkey for Christmas|
|The Christmas Stories of George MacDonald|
|A Celtic ChristmasA Celtic Christmas: Classic Tales from the Emerald Isle|
|A Christmas Carol|
|Cricket on the Hearth|
|The True Saint Nicholas|
|The Story of Christmas|
|The Story of Christmas|
|We Light the Candles|
|The Glorious Impossible|
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,You'll understand when you see him."
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring