Wesley Word-Dec. 8, 2021

Sonia Baker   -  

To go along with service on: Sunday, December 12, 2021 

Experiencing Grace

Exploring Truth

Signs of the Season: The Sign of the Virgin
Isaiah 7:10-14 & Luke 1:26-38

This week we continue our Advent series, Signs of the Season, with the Sign of the Virgin. The Virgin Mary becomes a critical figure in the Christmas story by fulfilling the Old Testament prophecy that a virgin will give birth to a son who will be the Messiah. But why is the Virgin Birth so important?

The doctrine of the Virgin birth is essential to our doctrine of Incarnation. The doctrine of Incarnation states that the Second person of the Trinity, the pre-existent Son of God, became incarnate, became human, by being born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus is one person but has two natures, divine and human, he is fully God and fully human.

The Incarnation is as essential to salvation, and Christianity, as the Crucifixion and Resurrection. In order to save us, Jesus had to be incarnate, to be fully God and fully human. To understand this, perhaps we can view Jesus as a kind of liaison. A liaison is a person who acts as a go-between, like a person who sits on two committees at the same time to facilitate communication and cooperation. A liaison is a full member of both groups. So it is with Jesus. If Jesus were not fully God, he would not have had the power to save us; if Jesus were not fully human, he would not have had the ability to represent us before God and die on our behalf. The central claim of the doctrine of the Virgin Birth and the larger doctrine of Incarnation of which it is an essential part, is that Jesus has both a divine and human nature in a single person.

As I write these lines, it is December 6th, the feast day of Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas is the model for our modern-day Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas rightly deserves this designation because he was known as a kind and generous man, especially toward children. However, Saint Nicholas is also known as a fierce defender of orthodox Christology. Saint Nicholas was a participant in the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, which wrote the Nicene Creed. 

One of the main reasons the Council of Nicea took place was to address the Arian heresy. The Arian heresy was put forward by a man named Arius, who claimed Jesus was not fully God, but simply God’s first creation. During the debate, out of his passion for correct theology, Jolly Old Saint Nick punched Arius in the mouth. Yet another reason Saint Nicholas is a representative of Christmas and a correct doctrine of Incarnation. 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Why does it matter that Jesus was born of a Virgin?

Expressing Love: Family/Mission Activity

Finding Jesus-“Find the baby Jesus” is similar to “Elf on the Shelf”, but helps keep Jesus at the center of Christmas. Take baby from a nativity scene and hide him somewhere in your house each day. The kids will have to look for him. As Christmas approaches, hide Jesus progressively closer to the manger in the nativity. On Christmas morning, the kids will find Jesus, in the manger.

Announcements:

  • Special Charge Conference: There will be a special Charge Conference on Thursday, December 9th at 6:30 via Zoom to discuss our church’s response to a class action suit involving the Boy Scouts of America. Email Pastor Brian at brian@wesleyonline.org if you wish to join to be sent a link.
  • Advent Candle Readers- If you and/or your family would like to read for the lighting of the Advent candles leading up to Christmas; sign-up sheets are available in the back of the sanctuary.
  • WOW (Worship on Wednesdays) TONIGHT!
      • 5:30-6:00 catered meal from Chicharos
      • 6:00 Mid-week worship
      • 6:30-7:30 Small Groups for kids, youth and adults
  • Kids’ Holiday Shoppe: Sat, Dec. 11th, 9am-12 pm. We are currently accepting donations of new or like new items, wrapping paper/bags, tissue paper, tape, and gift tags! Donations can be dropped off in Room 1. We also need volunteers to help set-up, provide cookies, and help out the day of the event. Contact Sonia Baker if you can help at soniabaker@wesleyonline.org. 
  • Festival of Lessons & Carols, Sunday, December 12 at 2:30 pm. Join in singing traditional carols, hear the Muscatine Littlest Angels Choir, Children’s Choir, Youth Choir, and Wesley’s Chancel Choir, and experience seven Scripture readings that prophecy and proclaim the story of Jesus’ birth.
  • Senior Resources Christmas Baskets:  Be sure to check out the Giving Tree in the foyer and take one or more slips of items for the Senior Resources Christmas baskets.  Let’s not forget our seniors this holiday season.  Directions are on the slips.
  • Advent Devotionals-Free Advent devotional books are available in the back of the Sanctuary and on the table in the chapel entryway. If you need a second copy, there are plenty remaining if you’d like!