So lots of angelic activity around this time! We can read in Luke's Gospel of the appearance of an angel to Zechariah, who will become the uncle of Jesus, and we read earlier of the angel's visit to Mary. Now one speaks to Joseph, later there are a whole host who appear to shepherds and two more appearances of angels to Joseph after the birth of Jesus. God is working to prepare the ground for the arrival of His Son, but He doesn't speak to the wealthy and entitled, but to ordinary people and even to groups which were not considered trustworthy in Jewish society (shepherds were not allowed to give evidence in court!) The Holy Spirit, whom we tend to think came to earth when Jesus ascended into Heaven, is on the move and will be through the life of Jesus, particularly in his three years of ministry. In Jewish thought, the Holy Spirit had certain very definite functions: 1. Jews believed that the Holy Spirit was the person who brought God's truth to men and women. He taught the prophets what to say, He taught the people of God what to do and He had done that throughout the centuries. 2. They believed that He not only brought God's truth, but also enabled men and women and children to recognise the truth when they saw it! The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see things as they really are. 3. They connected the Spirit with the work of creation (Genesis 1 v 2). He breathes life into our weaknesses and frustrations and brings hope, a creative spirit and energy. 4. Not only did the Jews credit the Holy Spirit with creation, but also re-creation. The prophecy of Ezekiel recorded in his book chapter 37 verses 1- 14 states that, and we hear of people every week whose lives have been transformed through the power of the Spirit.
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The last day of Advent and today we look at the remaining few scriptural verses which refer to the birth story. We may ask: 'Where did Luke, Matthew and Mark get their stories from?' The answer is par
Shepherds were a despised group of people amongst God-fearing Jews. However much they tried, they could never have kept the details of the ceremonial part of the Law. What we miss from a cursory readi
We come to what are the core verses for our modern-day interpretation of the Nativity. But we notice that there is no record of a kindly innkeeper or animals surrounding the Christ-babe. It was quit
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