When Life Turns Left

In this final part of our Christmas series, The Characters of Christmas, we look at Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. What can we learn to him? How about what to do when life takes a sudden left turn on us? Joseph’s perfect plans were thrown into chaos by the news of Mary’s unexpected pregnancy. How did he handle it? Keep reading to find out.

When Life Turns Left

Don’t you love a good plot twist?  I sure do.  The best movies and TV shows always have that moment that leaves you going, “Whoa!  I did not see that coming!”  When I was in high school and college, one of the directors who was the very best at creating those kinds of moment was M. Night Shyamalan.  Two films in particular do this better than just about any other show I’ve seen (and I think I can talk about these because they’ve been out long enough you’ve either seen them or you’re not going to see them).  The first was The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment.  Osment plays a young boy with the ability to see and interact with people who have died.  Willis plays a therapist who is trying to help him work through the fear and emotions of his unique ability.  The movie is filled with moments of heart-stopping suspense as Osment’s character navigates his frightening world.  But the real “whoa” moment comes right at the end, after Willis helps Osment figure out that the various dead people are coming to him to help them resolve some unresolved tension from before their death, and that with his help they can find peace and leave him alone.  The climax comes as we realize that Willis was one of these dead people all along who had come to Osment for help.  The moment is so jarring that people still talk about it almost 20 years later.

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The Life of a Servant

What does it mean to serve the Lord?  Have you ever really thought about that?  Followers of Jesus are told we are to serve Him, but we don’t often think about the details.  As we continue our series, The Characters of Christmas, Mary’s story gives us a pretty comprehensive picture.  Check this out to see what the picture of serving the Lord looks like.  

The Life of a Servant

So, last week we looked at the story of Gabriel’s announcement to Zechariah that his barren wife would conceive and give birth to a son.  In this, we saw that God’s promises are not fulfilled solely by the boldly miraculous or the faith superheroes, but instead, are made manifest when God moves in the lives of people very much like you and me. I have to think that the story of Zechariah’s encounter with Gabriel in the Temple would have spread pretty quickly. I mean, as far as we know, God had not spoken in a public way to His people in about 400 years at that point. Let’s be honest: We have trouble imagining 400 years period.  Four hundred years is just about how long there have been permanent, successful colonies of Europeans in North America.  Jamestown isn’t that far from here.  You can go up to Williamsburg and see the remnants of that very first settlement in 1607.  It’s a pretty neat museum and recreation. 

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A Life of Faith

This week we kick off a new teaching series called, The Characters of Christmas, designed to get us ready to experience the incredible Christmas story as fully as we possibly can.  The Christmas story is a real story filled with real people.  Just like they all had a place in the story, so do we.  Let’s look at what place they had to see what our own might be.  

A Life of Faith

I wish I could have been there at the birth.  It would have been incredible.  Now, I’ll tell you straight up that nothing could even come close to comparing with the births of my own sons, but this one would have come pretty far down that road.  The couple had been trying to have kids for so long they’d stopped counting.  Then, it finally happened.  They finally got there.  They finally got to experience the joy and wonder of delivering a healthy, precious baby into this world.  They were able to hold in their arms this tiny miracle from God.  The shouts of joy in the room would have nearly drowned out the healthily screaming baby.  The mother was crying with wonder and relief as she looked into the face of her infant son. It had not been an easy journey by any stretch of the imagination, but she had made it.  And her husband was standing there with her, silently watching the events unfold just exactly as he had hoped they would. 

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