This Christmas, I thought that we would revisit in more detail some the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
‘Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ (Luke 1:1-4)
Lesson: Like Mary, let's treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
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What is your fondest Christmas memory? For me, I will always cherish the time when my wife’s father, Ken, dressed up as Father Christmas and went walking around the garden for our children to see and be amazed at!
As we approach Christmas, it elicits so many different emotions. For some it’s a time of great joy and for others a time of great sadness and worry. Christmas can make us grateful for what we have and, for those who have lost, it can be a time when old wounds can be re-opened. Whatever our feelings about this seasons, I believe that we can all have our hearts filled with joy as we remember and encounter the story and the God of the story of Christmas.
Luke, as he opens his gospel to Theophilus, is keen that he, and we, know that his narrative is history and fact. God wants us to know ‘the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ As we look at the Christmas story again, the events and message is true. We can build our lives on these truths of this gospel and it provides a firm foundation against our worries and fears if we will treasure it.
We, all, I trust, have come to see that Father Christmas and the legends around his gift delivery service are, in fact, just exciting stories (sorry if that comes as a shock to you!). As Christians, let’s ensure that we put the true story, and faith in the story, at the heart of our Christmas celebrations. Christmas is, in essence, about God giving His one and only Son to save us from sin and fallenness. It’s about hope breaking in for all of us as Isaiah prophecied:
‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’ (Isaiah 9:2)
This Christmas may we be more aware of what has been ‘fulfilled among us’; May we receive it and ‘hand it down’ to anyone we can; May we treasure this ‘orderly account’ so that we can, and help others to, ‘know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ May we be like Mary of whom it is said:
‘But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ (Luke 2:19)
Over this Christmas period, make a commitment to give time everyday to studying and praying out of the gospel accounts. Let’s pray together:
“Lord Jesus, I thank you for giving us your gospels. You want me to enjoy and celebrate the good news. As I make time to feed on your Word during this Christmas season, help me, Holy Spirit, to find true treasure in meeting you and the truth that you want me to enjoy. Amen”
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Very importantly, let’s be praying and inviting to our carol service on 10th December.
How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?
3. Worship together
Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.
4. Study and pray together
This Christmas, we will revisit in more detail some the teaching surrounding Jesus’ birth that we have looked at in our Luke series. I’ve entitled this teaching series, ‘Mary Treasured up These Things’ (from Luke 2:19) because my hope and prayer is that, like Mary, we will treasure the story the truths and the God of the Christmas story.
Please read Luke 2:1-19
What are the sorts of good and bad things that we can treasure and ponder at Christmas rather than Christ?
What are the various things that Mary may have been treasuring and pondering?
To 'treasure' (syntēréō) means to preserve, to protect, defend, treasure, preserve in memory. What truths about Jesus are taught in Luke Chapter 1:32-33, for example, that we are to treasure?
To 'Ponder' (symbállō) means to encounter, meet with - to reflect in a way that encounters the God of truth. How could you make time to ponder the truths of the Christmas story this year?
SIV - Why will treasuring and pondering truth make you effective as a witness?
SIV - Who do you plan to invite to the carol service?
SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?
SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.