So, December 25th approaches rapidly.
Chances are – given what we see in the Scriptural texts about the Nativity – that was not the actual date of the birth of Christ, or for that matter, anywhere close to it. But y’all are intelligent people, so you already knew that.
For some reason, however, it’s a controversial topic. There are some folks out there who will get rather upset if you tell them that Jesus of Nazareth was probably born some time in the summer, and that we celebrate Christmas in December because the ancient Church wanted its people to be celebrating something other than a pagan festival (which, in all honesty, seems pretty reasonable).
But these are the kinds of things that we, as the body of Christ, have to engage. We have to engage the controversial, no matter how small or large, because it is in the very nature of the church. Though we all agree on the salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that’s about all that we all agree on. Beyond that, if you have five people in a room, you’re likely to have twenty different opinions on any given topic.
That’s why I picked the book We Make the Road By Walking, by Rev. Brian McLaren, for a year-long Bible study that we’re kicking off with the beginning of Advent. Rev. McLaren has stirred controversy in recent years by being neither conservative nor liberal – he holds positions on both sides of the ideological coin, and that causes unrest. Within his book, there will be things with which you disagree. There are things he says with which I disagree. But the point of that is to make you think about the Scriptures we study – why do you agree or disagree? What do you believe? Why do you believe that?
If you can join us on Monday nights at 6:00 PM, you will be most welcome. You need make no commitment – if you can’t come on any given Monday, that’s fine, and we hope to see you the following week. If you just don’t have the time to do the reading, that’s fine – we’ll be reading the chapters during the study! And if you can’t get your hands on a copy of the book by December 1st, that’s okay too – I’ll make sure you have that week’s reading.
As we study together, it is my hope that we will grow together as well. May this coming season of Advent be a time for us to begin to have a deeper understanding of the faith which we all profess.