It is one of western civilization's best-known stories. For two thousand years it has been told and retold, preached and sung about. It has been represented by the titans of art and by the purveyors of mass-produced lawn figures. We celebrate it every year with Christmas trees and lights, with gifts and cards, carols and hymns.
Even if you did not go to church growing up, you're probably familiar with the story. You know the locale—a manger in Bethlehem. You know the cast of characters—Mary and Joseph, the angels and shepherds, the wise men and King Herod. You may know plot details—the census, the long journey, the overcrowded inn.
And yet, as is often the case, the story's very familiarity may keep us from fully grasping its riches. We think, "Well, yes, I know that story," as its depth and nuance escape us.
There is much more to the Christmas story than meets the eye. There are details we may have missed entirely. And there are certainly a few places where the picture you have in your mind's eye is actually wrong!
Based on the book of the same title by Adam Hamilton, we will explore the story of Jesus' birth with fresh eyes and ears. We will walk through the Holy Land and retrace the steps of those involved. We will draw upon insights gained from historians, archaeologists, biblical scholars, and theologians and from walking in the places the story occurred, all in an effort to discover the real meaning of Christmas.
In seeking that meaning, we will address four questions:
—What actually happened leading up to and including the first Christmas?
—What does the story teach us about the character of God?
—What does it tell us about the child whose birth we celebrate?
—What does this story mean for our lives today?
Join us this Advent season beginning November 28 for The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem.