Advent is approaching quickly, and so with this last Pastor’s Pen before Christmas preparations are completely upon us, Pastor Audrey and I wanted to highlight the journey we will experience together in the weeks preceding Christmas. We have been impacted by a little book called “The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem” written by Adam Hamilton which explores the possible context of the journey taken by our beloved Christmas characters: Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zechariah, John, and Jesus.
Adam Hamilton wrote this book as a resource for congregations moving through the Advent season to dive into this familiar moving through the Advent season to dive into this familiar story in a deeper way. To do this, Hamilton highlights five “journeys,” which we will use thematically on each Sunday in Advent and Christmas Eve. This includes the call of Mary from Nazareth to carry God’s son, the call of Joseph of Bethlehem to accept Mary as his wife, Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth, the journey to Bethlehem for the census, and the birth of Jesus.
Hamilton’s book pushes us to ponder what reactions these characters might have had to the angelic proclamations in their lives. What deeper journey is going on in this text beyond the trips to Bethlehem or Nazareth? What can we learn from the emotional/spiritual journeys of Mary and Joseph or Elizabeth and Zechariah? He blends these thoughtful questions with historical information and archeological findings that make the story of Christmas come to life. Maybe the Christmas journey should read more like an adventure novel than a children’s picture book.
To accompany worship during advent we will also be encouraging you to read along individually in Hamilton’s book. Pastor Audrey is creating a daily reading guide which will be distributed as Advent gets closer. You can join in by purchasing “The Journey” through the church office. The church office currently has 25 copies for $10 a book, but we can order more copies for $15 a book. Please place your order on or before November 12 in case we need to order more. Electronic versions of this book are available as Kindle from amazon.com ($9.99) and as Nook from Barnes & Noble ($10.99).
The Contemporary Christian Conversations Class will be delving more deeply into this book during their Sunday School Class as well. We look forward to taking the journey with all of you during Advent. Please join us.