During Advent I led my first Bible since I retired. Some people at Lewis Center United Methodist Church had been asking for an evening Bible Study and both the pastors were too busy to do it. They asked me if I would be willing to do it and I gladly said yes. Then I went online to Cokesbury and selected a study.
I selected “Heaven and Earth” by Bishop William Willimon. I ordered five paperback books and the video and hoped they would arrive in time to begin the study. Then I also hoped that someone would want to come to the study!
Fourteen brave souls attended the Heaven and Earth Advent study. We only had twelve of them at any one time, so it was the perfect size for a nice study. The study met on Tuesday nights in the Youth Activity Center, which is a fancy name for a large room used by the youth on Sunday. The room was a great place to meet because it was quiet, warm, and nicely decorated.
I chose the Heaven and Earth study because it was new and written by a Bishop of the church. With the schism in the denomination recently, I wanted something that would support United Methodist doctrine. Heaven and Earth was perfect because it focused on preparing for Christmas. The four week study looked at the preparation narrative in each Gospel.
Every week we met and talked about how we are supposed to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The first week focused on what we do while while we are waiting for the coming. The second week focused on how God is revealed. The third week was about bearing witness to Jesus. The fourth week focused on Mary and Elizabeth as unlikely carriers of God’s message.
Everyone who participated in the study came ready to learn and add to the discussion each week. We had some really good conversations about what it means to be a witness. Everyone, including myself, felt pushed to think about ways that God might want us to shake up the world. For 75 minutes every week, we put aside our holiday busy-ness and focused on God seeking, speaking, and calling us.
I really enjoyed leading the Advent bible study and getting to know the people who took the study. The group enjoyed it so much that they decided to do a Lenten study on “The Prayer of Jabez.” One of the members of the group offered to lead it. I might have to do this again next year during Advent.
Leading the Advent Bible Study helped me prepare my heart and life for Christmas. I hope that you, as well, are ready for Christmas. Ready to welcome the Christ child into your heart.
And now that the waiting is over, may you have a most joyful Christmas day!