Monday, 30 November 2015

Hope is on the way 1: O'come, O'come Emmanuel

Today is the last Sunday of the month that only meant one thing for Tia, Rebekah and Elizabeth that it was time to go to Sandhurst Baptist Chapel to do the evening book club. This month in November the three young adults looked at the book called Thanksgiving Night by Richard Bausch.

They discussed the book and what they liked about it and do not like about it.
I will not ruin the story in case you want to read it. The story is set in the small Virginia valley town of Port Royal, where several of Bausch is other novels and many of his stories take place. It is 1999; predictions of catastrophe blare on the radio, and religious fanaticism is everywhere on the rise. The millennium is approaching.
Oliver Ward and his divorced daughter, a young police officer named Alison, and Oliver's two grandchildren become involved with Holly Grey and Holly's aunt Fiona, elderly ladies with a marked propensity for outlandish behaviour. Holly's son, Will Butterfield, and Elizabeth, Will's second wife by that name, have been happily married for ten years but are about to discover how fragile happiness is.

In addition, in the middle of all of them is an old priest, Father John Fire, who is a good man, thinking of leaving the priesthood. He is called "Brother Fire" by everyone who knows him, after the famous words of Saint Francis when confronted with the burning brand with which he would be martyred. Close to both Holly and Fiona, Brother Fire also has a part to play in the rapidly unfolding family drama.

Now it's gets the exciting part where Tia, Rebekah and Elizabeth chose the next book to read for December. They all decided to read something about Christmas. Tia suggested too read the Nutcracker by Ivan Vsevolozhsky. Rebekah suggested to read to The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Elizabeth wanted to read A letter from Santa Claus by Mark Twain.

Tia said questionally “Why do we actually celebrate Christmas?” Rebekah answers back to Tia “To celebrate the birthday of Jesus”. Really Rebekah does not know why we actually celebrate Christmas. Tia and Rebekah are extremely lucky to have Elizabeth, as she knows everything and everything. Elizabeth goes on saying “Why do we not study the bible? That way both of you can understand why we celebrate Christmas, instead of meeting up for a big discussion at the end of the month. Shall we meet here at the Chapel with cake and coffee at 8:00 A.M.? I will tell you the story of why we celebrate Christmas.”

Rebekah said to Elizabeth, “We should call this group, Hope is on the way!”
Elizabeth and Tia nodded their heads in agreement, as that is what this book club name is.

“Do you know Tia and Rebekah today, is the first Sunday of Advent?” Tia replied back say no, Rebekah goes YES!! Tia and Rebekah said together “What is Advent?” Rebekah said jokingly “Is that the chocolate thing? You know where each day leading up to Christmas from 1st December you open the door and get a piece of chocolate.” Elizabeth replies back “You’re on the right lines Rebekah, just not on the right track on Christian path.”

Elizabeth then goes about saying, “As far back as the fourth century, Christians have been observing Advent as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. In fact, Advent prepares for two different comings: the first is Jesus birth at Bethlehem two thousand years ago, and the second in his final coming at the end of time.” Rebekah remembers her Latin lesson from her Cousin Richard “The word Advent came from the Latin word 'adventus' which means 'arrival' or 'coming,' but how does coming come to advent does?

Elizabeth busted into a song. Of course it had it be O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Tia and Rebekah gave each other a look. Tia goes on saying, “why are you singing Elizabeth?”

“I’m signing because that song came into my mind when Rebekah asked me a question. My favourite bible passage is from Isaiah 7:13-14.” Tia, Rebekah and Elizabeth read the bible verse.

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Rebekah bouncing up and down a bit like Tigger, said “What if God lived among us?”

Tia copying Rebekah on being Tigger said “What if God was one of us?”
Elizabeth had to gather her thoughts before she could answer those two questions.
“Well, the person of Jesus Christ came and lived among us. Jesus is fully God and fully human. He came, He lived among us, He was one of us, and yet - He was more than just another human being: Jesus was, and Jesus is, ‘Immanuel’ which means, GOD IS WITH US.”

Tia and Rebekah wondered does God understand me. Does God understand what I face in life? Can God know my struggles from a human perspective?

The love of God is so powerful that He became like us in order to save us, and even more powerful, God remains with us with God the Holy Spirit.

All praise is to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is God with us, Immanuel.

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