The theme of adoption is weaved throughout scripture, starting with God's adoption of the Israelites, through to the adoption of Jesus by his earthly father - Joseph, and ending in the assurance of our adoption as heirs of the Father, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
This week we meet Anna, a prophetess and widow who waited her whole life for the Redeemer of Israel and finally saw baby Jesus when she was already very old. We learn so much from the way God rewarded Anna's faith, obedience and expectancy.
Mary was the only person present at the birth and death of Jesus Christ. From the beginning of his life, she knew that the life of her first-born son will cause her immeasurable joy, but would also pierce her heart. Nevertheless, Mary's humility and unwavering trust in God inspire us to surrender our lives into the hands of our Saviour to use as he sees fit.
I invite you to explore the Christmas story through the eyes of Elizabeth, Mary and Anna. I have a special place in my heart for Elizabeth. God demonstrates his perfect providence through his answer to Zechariah and Elizabeth's decades-long yearning prayers for a child, in the right way at the right time.
Today we conclude Nettie's Book Club reading of Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller with Chapter 8 where we find a summary of the gifts God has given us through the Christmas story. Tim Keller reminds us that the fact that Jesus Christ really came down to earth on Christmas day means we can have salvation through grace and be reconciled with the Father, no matter who we are or where we come from.
This week we take a closer look at Simeon's prophecy to Mary and Joseph. During his life on earth Jesus Christ warned his disciples that he did not come to bring peace to this world, but to bring a sword. He explained that following him would mean losing your own will for your life and taking up the identity of Christ. From the beginning, we were warned that following Jesus meant we'll experience conflict - both with others and within ourselves.
In most Nativity plays the Shepherds play a sentimental supporting role at best. Yet Tim Keller encourages us with four important lessons we can learn from the faith of these humble believers. the Shepherds were afraid at first, all of them "listened well, overcame their fears, and went out into the world carrying the joyful news to others".
In the gospel of Luke we get a precious glimpse into Mary's response to the angel's message that she will give birth to the Messiah. Her reaction can serve as a "model for what responsive Christian faith looks like".
Jesus Christ, the gift of light came to earth at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way. Christmas teaches us the importance of Jesus' coming to earth as a baby and what that means for us as lost sinners. As we read Chapter 4 of Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller, we come to the question of who is the king of our lives - the baby Jesus or the god of self.
The foundation of our Christian faith rests on the fact that Jesus Christ is God, human and Immanuel (God with us). As we continue our reading of Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller together as Nettie's Book Club, we encounter these three facets of the character and personhood of Jesus. This week we will also investigate why this is significant to Christmas, and how it turns our worlds upside down.