Biblical Messages

Climbing the Ladder (Or, “Teleoanticipation”!)

“Teleoanticipation”: use that in a crossword puzzle this week. It was a new word to me, introduced to me by my spiritual director. In this worship gathering for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we learn what it means, how it applies to our current situation, and how Mary exemplified it. While we “teleoanticipate”, we climb the ladder of faith. How? Watch to find out. The message is based on Luke 1.26-56, and can be viewed as part of the whole worship broadcast below, or by itself just below that.

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day broadcasts have been pre-recorded and will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel on December 24 in the afternoon and December 25 in the morning respectively, or anytime after those times as may be convenient for you. Merry Christmas! I’ll post them here as well.

Encouragement From The Word

The gift of motherhood

This Sunday in the Christian calendar is called Christian Family Sunday.  It’s an effort to make Mother’s Day as inclusive as possible, since, it seems, Father’s Day doesn’t get much press (and some people struggle with the day, either because they did not have children or their mothers are deceased).  Whichever way you look at it, this is an opportunity to remember your mom, or to make your mom feel special.

Though it was written in a patriarchal period in human history, the Bible highlights many great mothers.  Two examples that come to mind are Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who prayed earnestly to bear a son (1 Samuel 1), and Mary, the mother of Jesus, who at a very young age agreed to fulfill the Lord’s will and give birth to the Son of God.

One greatly desired a child from the Lord, and the other had her maternity thrust upon her by the Lord.  What they have in common is that both of these women lived out of a deep relationship with God.

If you’re a mom, your relationship with God will be the greatest inheritance your children will receive.  Talk about it with them, and model it for them; they will see how you walk with the Lord, and no matter how far they may stray, they will remember it as they age. God may use that memory to draw them back to him.

If you’re not a mom, perhaps your mom planted a seed of faith in you; use this weekend as an opportunity to thank her, if she is living, or to thank God for her, if she is not.  If your mom is not a follower of Jesus, maybe this weekend will provide you with an opportunity to witness to God’s grace at work in her!

One way or another, this weekend can be a time of celebrating God’s goodness toward us all in Jesus Christ.  Whether or not your church makes a big deal out of Mother’s Day, you can praise God for the gift of motherhood.

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3.4, NLT).


Encouragement From The Word

Take time to ponder

We often complain about how busy we get around Christmas time, but if you read the biblical account in Luke 2, you’ll notice that it wasn’t a whole lot less busy that first Christmas:  there were crowds making their way to their various towns for the census; the nearby shepherds came along at the angel’s announcement; there was “a great company of the heavenly host” (v. 13 – probably a large army of angels) shouting God’s praise; and there were all the people who were amazed at what the shepherds said (v. 18), many of whom probably went to the cave to see what all the fuss was about.

And we think it’s busy when we go shopping!

In the midst of all that was going on, though, what did Mary do?  Jesus’ mother took in everything that was going on around her, and she “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (v. 19).

Yes, there’s a lot going on at this time of year.  And we can learn from one of those who was at the centre of it all to step back and ponder.

Manger Square, Bethlehem, Dec. 2, 2013
Manger Square, Bethlehem, Dec. 2, 2013

It’s not easy, but we can do it if we make a conscious choice to do so.

Even if you’re not done your shopping yet, take a few minutes away from the crowd.  Grab a coffee, sit down, take in everything going on around you, and pray.  Tell God what’s on your mind, on your heart.  Share with him your deepest yearnings and desires.  Commit to God that you will make this crazy-busy season about him, first and foremost.

After all, Mary did.

Why not take some time right now?  Go ahead!  Instead of writing more for you to read, I’ll give you time to rest amid this busy time.  You won’t regret it.

Merry Christmas.

Biblical Messages

The Light of Welcome

Light: it can be a welcoming thing, whether a sign that a home is expecting guests, or that the end of a dark place or time is near.  As one of those lights that can get tangled up, though, we can sometimes forget how important the light of welcome can be – especially at this time of year.

Mary and Elizabeth offered their own kinds of welcome to the Lord Jesus; read their story in Luke 1.26-56.  Listen to the message by clicking here.