Good morning again.
Good to see you all.
I hope you had a good Thanksgiving weekend.
Today, we are starting a new series called the road to Christmas and I chose this series because last year we didn't do the story of Christmas.
So, today, we're just doing only the story of Christmas.
We're going to really dig into it, and it occurs to me, whenever I think about the Christmas season.
There's this interesting contradiction in the way our culture, celebrates Christmas, that we celebrate this season 1 months out of the Year where we're all about Hope and joy, and peace and love.
But in the the cultural worship of Christmas, the center of it is missing, there isn't really a reason why we should have hope joy peace and love more.
So in December than other months except that we've just decided to.
It's like we at we have this we we just got this cultural agreement that we're going to try and be the people.
We know we should be for December.
And then hope that it sticks.
And this no.
Continue with hope is that the joy.
That's the spirit of Christmas will last all year round.
And there seems to be a just this vague hope that if we go through the Christmas season.
And if it happens to us enough times, then eventually it'll stick and we'll, we'll be like that all year round.
And it never seems to do that matter.
How much we talk about peace on Earth and Goodwill to men, the talking about it in the singing about, it doesn't seem to do anything.
That's why you also have Christmas songs like, the one that was saying before communion where we talked about know, the struggle of he wrote that during the Civil War, when the country was tearing itself apart and Christians were killing each other, in the hundreds of thousands and now, it seems like 1,800 years.
After Jesus, the world was farther from peace on Earth and Goodwill to men than it ever had been.
I think every generation kind of feels that way.
The question is, what, actually, what hope really is, there that Christmas will change things, especially considering how many of them we've had so far and we don't really feel like things have been fixed by Christmas.
And the main idea that I want to bring to this series.
As we look at, we're going to look at the people who were in The Story of Christmas.
If you can't see if there's a beautiful nativity set here, that was donated to us by The Hansons, I love and I'm glad we're able to put it up here in Indiana nativity scene.
You see all these people who are part of the Christmas story and thing is Christmas didn't just happen to any of them.
Each one of them for each one of them, this moment is part of a journey.
That involve decisions that they had to make to be a part of this moment and be transformed by this moment because this Christmas happened this year, and only these people knew about it right there, a whole rest of the world.
It it happened, but they weren't change.
But these people decided made a series of decisions that brought them to this moment.
They decided to respond to the calling of God.
And so, this is a moment in a journey and do what I want us to look at throughout this Christmas season.
This Advent season.
Is that journey toward Christmas?
The decisions that we need to make the calls that we need to respond to so that we can actually be a part of what's happening in Christmas because Christmas doesn't just happen to you.
You have to respond Christ.
Dory to start at the first place in loots story.
Loose starts with a story of Zacharias.
Interesting, the last week we ended with the last passage of Luke and we ended in the temple.
And today, we start with the opening chapter of Luke and we're going to start in the temple was kind of an interesting comparison and we're to talk first about how it's it's kind of a weird story and then we're going to unpack what it's really telling us about the journey toward Christmas in in choosing to be a part of Christmas.
1:5 in the time of Herod King of Judea.
There was a priest in Zechariah who belong to the Priestly division of abijah his wife.
Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
Both of them were righteous in the sight of God preserving all the Lord commands in degrees blamelessly, but they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive.
And they were both very old once when he was chosen by W, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense.
And when the time for the burning of incense came all the assembled worshippers were praying outside.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him standing at the right side of the altar of incense was Zechariah.
I saw him.
He was startled and was gripped with fear, but the angel said to him, do not be afraid.
Your prayer has been heard.
Elizabeth will bear.