Today’s bible study is Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Once again, Advent has begun. During the weeks before Christmas, Christians engage in a period of joyful anticipation. Many have Advent calendars with tiny doors to open each day until Christmas. Churches have Advent wreaths, adding one lighted candle each week of Advent until the purple Christ candle is finally aflame. During this time, it’s a good idea to think about what you are doing to prepare for Christmas. Even if you are not a regular church member or even a true believer, you can still await something very special at this most wonderful time of the year.
Too often, people who have looked at their faith from every angle and studied the writings of scientists, historians and philosophers, question the birth of Jesus. This is not necessarily wrong, and simply shows that you have taken the time to study and weigh the possibilities. You may have come away feeling that you are a fair-minded agnostic, willing to believe but definitely subject to doubt. You might have even decided that you are an atheist and simply do not believe in the Christmas story at all. If so, read on. There’s a surprise in store for you!
Christmas is deeply rooted in tradition, heralded as a time of peace on earth and good will toward men. If you gave a thought to peace recently, wished for terrorism and domestic violence to cease, reached out to someone who needed help or donated a few boxes and cans to your local food pantry, you experienced the spirit of Christmas. If you snapped a photo of the smile on your daughter’s face as she climbed into Santa’s lap at the Festival of Trees, you shared the spirit of Christmas. If you bought a few gifts for family and friends on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, you took part in the Christmas experience.
You don’t need a heavenly chorus to hope for peace, an immaculate conception to see the joy in a child’s eyes or three wise men to give gifts to loved ones. In a very real way, you are feeling many of the same feelings true Christians are feeling this holiday season. If you put up a Christmas tree and decorated it with lights and tinsel, you lit the way to welcome a time of joy. If you’re planning to catch a plane home for the holidays, you’re feeling at least hints of love. If you just sat quietly listening to traditional Christmas music for a little while, you knew the joy of once again roasting chestnuts and walking in a winter wonderland.
In short, you can do everything possible to try to take Christ out of Christmas, but you’re still left with ‘mas.’ If you’re done your homework, Jesus wasn’t really born until spring anyway. Maybe the spirit of the season is hidden within those three letters, just waiting to be discovered, appreciated and enjoyed. The leftover letters form the acronym MAS that just might stand for Making Advent Special. No matter how you try, you won’t be able to deny the crazy, glitzy, expensive and wonderful feelings that make Christmas special. You might also like to read:
- Broad Brook Bible Study Examiner, Grace Dooley
- Daily Bible Guide
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series