Thanks to those of you who prayed for yesterday’s lesson. All the elements went smoothly. I didn’t burn down the church (which is always the goal, but especially when it’s your first time to teach there). And no one munched on the Frankincense and Myrrh this time (it’s amazing Shawn still has teeth).
Initially, I had planned to focus on the “takeaways” from Mary and Joseph’s life, but last week I found my focus shifting more towards the Garden of Eden, where God made the promise to send a Deliverer to crush the head of the serpent – delivering a fatal blow once for all (Gen. 3:15). The first mention of God’s redemption plan, brought forth through His Son thousands of years later. A promise birthed — and kept — because of an incredible kind of love.
The depth and faithfulness of God’s love for us is truly too deep for the human mind to plunder, and yet, if we are not absolutely confident that it exists, our lives cannot help but lack power, effectiveness and purpose. How can we surrender to Someone we do not believe loves us? Or how can we have faith in their promise to forgive us? I think many believe God loves them (head knowledge) but not nearly as many receive it (heart change).
Yesterday’s challenge to the class was to consider their confidence in God’s love for them prior to “approaching the manger”, for if we are not convinced and changed by His love, the account found in Matthew and Luke will read like a wonderful story, but it will have no lasting impact in their personal lives.
We closed our time together by lighting the hand-held candle of the person beside us while Michael Card’s “Immanuel” played in the background. It’s hard to describe the beauty of seeing a totally darkened room (except for a few candles and my LED reading light) transform into a room brightly lit by 40-45 candles by the end of the song.
Thank You Jesus!