Dear Beloved Church,
We find ourselves a couple months into our project of reading the whole of the Bible together in a year. As we have been working our way through the beginnings of the Old Testament I have been reminded that there is a lot of strange stuff in there. There are stories that are set in a context that are very foreign to us, there are instructions to people who lived in a very different place and time. There are things written about God by human beings who see God through the lens of their own experiences that were very different from ours!
Martin Luther said that we go to the Bible in order to know more about God and more specifically about the God who is revealed most fully to us through taking on flesh and becoming Jesus Christ. Since Jesus is the closest anyone has ever gotten to truly knowing God, we read the entirety of scripture through what we know about Christ. Any conclusions we draw about God should be compared to what we know about Jesus.
Luther’s thoughts about the Bible were pretty prefect for this time of year. “Therefore let your own thoughts and feelings go, and think of the Scriptures as the loftiest and noblest of holy things, as the richest of mines, which can never be worked out, so that you may find the wisdom of God that He lays before you in such foolish and simple guise, in order that He may quench all pride. Here you will find the swaddling-clothes and the manger in which Christ lies, and to which the angel points the shepherds. Simple and little are the swaddling-clothes, but dear is the treasure, Christ, that lies in them.” (Introduction to the Old Testament 1545)
Perhaps, instead of a stable or manger in our nativity scenes we should place the Christ child in a Bible as a reminder to look there for glimpses of our Savior!