The Christmas Story from the Gospel of Luke

December 17, 2014

This Wednesday we are completing our three-part series on the Christmas advent. Our readings begin with prophecies from Isaiah, the nativity in Luke, and then Paul’s understanding of angels and sons.

It would be wonderful if you could join us in person, but calling on your cell phone works too.  Last week, we were visited by three wise women who listened to last Wednesday’s lesson about Matthew’s wise men, but these modern ladies used our easy cell phone technology instead of traveling by night on camels!

If you look on the readings page, you will see one of the many paintings by Rembrandt of “Simeon in the Temple.” According to many internet sources, this painting may have been Rembrandt’s last painting as it was found unfinished in his workshop the day after he died.  I believe that the connection between this painting and Luke 2:26 is very meaningful to fans of Rembrandt and religious art historians.
When we first started this series, someone mentioned that she didn’t remember studying about the advent in Sunday School. I will revert to my Sunday School teaching days for a moment, and have everyone look in the dictionary, specifically Webster’s 1828 online dictionary which defines advent as follows:
“A coming; appropriately the coming of our Savior, and in the calendar, it includes four sabbaths before Christmas, beginning of St. Andrew’s Day, or on the sabbath next before or after it. It is intended as a season of devotion, with reference to the coming of Christ in the flesh, and his second coming to judge the world.”

 In Retrospection and Introspection, Mrs. Eddy wrote:

    “No person can take the individual place of the Virgin Mary. No person can compass or fulfil the individual mission of Jesus of Nazareth. No person can take the place of the author of Science and Health, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity.
      The second appearing of Jesus is, unquestionably, the spiritual advent of the advancing idea of God, as in Christian Science.” (p. 70)
It is so interesting to me that Mrs. Eddy uses both definitions of advent (the earthly advent and nativity of Jesus and the advent of divine healing) throughout her writings. I especially love this paragraph from “The Cry of Christmas-tide” in Miscellaneous Writings,
   “In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity’s needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish.  This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart.” (p. 370)