Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God the Father of Christmas: Part 1 of an Advent Conversation

God the Father and Christmas? Most people can name 3 people in the Christmas story. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. But there was a fourth individual who was part of the story long before Joseph and Mary: God the Father. Think back to the first chapter's of Genesis. God made the world and after finishing making people God said the creation—but especially people were more than good—they were very good. Women and men had been made in God's own image and likeness. 

But the story twists. A snake enticed Eve and Adam. They ignored God's directions and ate food God had forbidden them to even touch. Soon after Adam's and Eve's son Cain killed their other boy Abel. The creation that was very good changed: sin, death, and evil are present in our lives even though the Father hadn't planned the world to work that way.
Talk it over: How do people experience sin, death, and evil in our world today?

DIGGING DEEPER: The Father's reaching for us. Christmas is part God the Father's plan to rewrite the human story sending his Son straight into our world. God the Father eliminated any distance between us and Him. Jesus was God's son—his direct and personal way back into our our lives.

The prophet Malachi spoke on God's behalf to his people. God understood their questions and sent Jesus as the answer.
Malachi wrote: The Lord said, “I have loved you.”
But you ask, “How have you loved us?
Malachi 1:2a NCV

Talk it over: In what ways do experience God's love?
Why might some people think God is distant and doesn't love them?

Malachi wrote: The Lord All-Powerful says, “A child honors his father, and a servant honors his master. I am a father, so why don’t you honor me? I am a master, so why don’t you respect me? You priests do not respect me.
But you ask, ‘How have we shown you disrespect?
Malachi 1:6-7 NCV
Talk it over: In what ways do people disrespect God?

Malachi Wrote: You have tired the Lord with your words.
You ask, “How have we tired him?”
You did it by saying,
The Lord thinks anyone who does evil is good, and he is pleased with them.”
Or you asked, “Where is the God who is fair?

The Lord All-Powerful says, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way for me. Suddenly, the Lord you are looking for will come to his Temple; the messenger of the agreement, whom you want, will come.
Malachi 2:17-3:1 NCV.
Talk it over: What does God's “messenger” have to do with Christmas?

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