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Advent Blog for Sunday, December 25th
December 25, 2016

John 1:1-14
Christmas is costly . . . Not just financially, but relationally. You likely can’t afford to buy five golden rings or ten lord’s a leaping. But we can afford to connect. The impact of what we buy with our money fades fast. Ask me in March what I got for Christmas and I’ll likely have to think about it. Jesus’ birth shows us that the cost, the impact of connecting relationally resonates forever. We should share our space, and experience and share our heart. It will likely be some of the best spending we ever do.
What did Christmas cost Mary? It nearly cost her marriage to Joseph. Only the timely intervention of an angel convinced Joseph not to do “the right thing” and send her away, but the loving thing and expose himself to ridicule.
What did Christmas cost Mary and Joseph together? It cost them their home. When they learned that Herod’s soldiers would soon arrive, with infanticide on their minds, their brief journey to Bethlehem stretched into years of exile in Egypt.
What did Christmas cost the Magi? Many months of arduous travel. What about the shepherds? They had to risk descending from the high meadows into the town below, where they would be subject to abuse and ridicule from the more settled populace.
What’s Christmas likely to cost us? . . . . A large bill on our January credit-card statement?
Really? The cost of our Christmas isn’t even in the same league as these mentioned above!
Merry Christmas everyone,
Tom Groome

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Advent Blog for Saturday, December 24th

Luke 1:67-80
From the time Zechariah was a child he learned about God’s covenant with Abraham and the New Covenant prophesied by Jeremiah many years later. His calling as a priest brought him face to face with the very presence of God when he was chosen to enter the sanctuary and burn the incense used in daily prayer with his people. This day became even more significant when the angel Gabriel appeared next to the altar. Fear overwhelmed him until the angel spoke telling him not to be afraid and reassuring him that God had heard his prayers. You see, he and Elizabeth had desperately wanted a child and since they were very old had given up on hoping that God would answer their prayers. Now this angel was telling him that he would become a father but the message didn’t stop there—Zachariah was the first to learn of the fulfillment of the New Covenant in the coming of the Messiah and that his son, who was to be called “John”, would precede him and would prepare the people for the advent of the Lord. Zachariah went from being fearful to being struck deaf and dumb when he doubted the angel’s words.
Zachariah and Elizabeth had always tried to be obedient to God, but in spite of their loyalty they remained childless and felt cursed by God. For Elizabeth the news meant she was no longer tormented by a barren womb and would finally give her beloved husband a son, the greatest blessing for a Hebrew husband and wife. Moreover Gabriel told how John would be great in the eyes of the Lord and would be a blessing to all the people. How must she have felt hearing Gabriel’s words conveyed by her husband?
Oh how they had all longed for a Savior—someone to take them away from the oppression of the Roman government and lead them to a life of peace. That day was now very near. Finally the promised Messiah was coming. Jeremiah’s words would finally be fulfilled.
Lori Dickerson

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