Did you know that earliest followers of Jesus didn’t celebrate what we call Christmas? That’s right. In fact, it took them 300 years to set the date! Why? The focus of the early believers was on the life and work of Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Christ, and the birth narratives were not thought to be central to the Jesus-stories. The focus was on the atoning work of the cross, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and Jesus’ promised return. A few centuries later, however, it became important to introduce a more complete story of the Savior to show his full humanity and full divinity. The scholar and pastor, Jerome (347-420 AD), helped early believers learn the four gospels using familiar creatures, each representing a diffferent animal. Mark (the Lion), John (the Eagle), Matthew (humans) and Luke (the Ox).
This year’s Advent Message Series is titled The All-Inclusive Story featuring the animals of Christmas. Animals, you ask? Yes!
On the second Sunday of Advent, this week we will consider the ox and the donkey as images to help tell the Christmas story. The Gospel of Luke features the important role John the Baptist as a messenger to level the playing fields of life. The Good News is for everyone! God is in the business of smoothing out the rough edges, the ups and downs, the obstacles that impede our learning and growth as followers of Jesus. Listen to the an all-inclusive adventure toward Christmas hope this message.