Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Introduction to the Nameless Luke Advent Thingee

I’m haunted as I write this. OK. Maybe that’s a little over-dramatic, but something’s up. I’ve been a Christian for more than half my life now. I’ve known the Christmas story for longer than that. As a pastor, I’ve taught through the birth narratives – a few times. I’ve gone to seminary. I understand this.

But something different is happening this year. I’m coming to grips with the reality that I may not have the grip on this stuff I thought I had. Last year a friend shared a video from The Advent Conspiracy. It was compelling and it got me to thinking. Then this Christmas our church decided to do it. I’ve been preparing the teaching series and showing the DVD curriculum in a couple smaller groups. There’s a challenge to “remain in the gospel” during this busy season.

Certainly I want to stay focused on Jesus amid the cultural clutter of the season. That’s challenge enough and the Advent Conspiracy is proving a great tool for at least starting to wade through some of the challenges of keeping Christ central during Christmas.

Yet a thought started materializing last night at small group. I take Jesus for granted. Christmas is important for gifts and making Easter possible. Eternity hangs on Good Friday and Easter, but I give limited attention to Christmas.

It’s odd. I’ve taught on it. I’ve emphasized it. But I don’t know that I’ve dwelt in the incarnation. I haven’t soaked in the reality that the Eternal God took on flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. I take it as a given.

It shouldn’t be. I want to dwell in the incarnation, but, to be honest, I don’t know what to do about it. Instead of letting it pass, I’m going to try to wade through the first couple chapters of Luke for the month of December. I can't think of a worse time to do this. The season is crazy and this is going to be a big chunk of work - if I manage to keep up. But if it helps me (and hopefully others) stay focused during the season, it'll be worth it.

I’ve taught through these texts in our small group so it’s familiar territory, but I hope it will be particularly helpful during the Advent season for living in the gospel of Jesus and being formed by the incarnation. That’s my prayer for myself and, hopefully, for others.

If you’re interested in joining in, survey the scene for the next few weeks. Read Luke 1-2.

Please feel free to jot notes and insights on the reading - or questions, too - so we can share this experience together.

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