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GEOFFSHATTOCKweekly

Advent 3: New Mysteries

Dec
13
2010

Issue 368

Questions without answers

Here is a thought for you: have you wondered how some of the characters surrounding the Advent story would be received today? how do you feel about astrologists? what images does the word ‘Iranian’ conjure up for you? how do you feel about deciding your route, not by GPS, but by a dream? not to mention how do you get precious metals, expensive perfumes and strong smelling incense through customs and security? (Let’s forget the camels for now).

The truth is that the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth brought with it mysteries. I can guarantee one thing for you this Christmas: If you think you understand him, you certainly don’t. Maybe you are comfortable with mysteries; many people like answers, especially in a work context. Living a Christ-centred, inside-out life and attempting to operate by his management principles will inevitably set up mysteries for you.

Why does your business go bankrupt when you are trying to be honourable? Why does a prayer appear to go unanswered? Why does an illness continue or a relationship die? Why does an unethical person prosper?

I have listed just a tiny fraction of the more common mysteries, but the point is this: when you go to work this week, you will need to remember that you do not, however long you have been a Christian, carry a full set of answers with you. If you pretend this to be so, you will carry stress in your soul. The Advent season is a season of mystery; it is meant to be. Your life will always have elements which make no sense, however much you attempt to clarify them. Perhaps one of the gifts a wise person can lay at Jesus’ feet this Christmas is a box full of unanswered questions. Who knows?

BIBLE SECTION

Matthew 2:1-12

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the
prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

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Series: Advent
Module: 1
Season: Advent
Daily Guide: No

Tags: mystery, question, stress

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Geoff Shattock

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