In Advent 2020, Presbyterians across the country are invited to join a denomination-wide book study on Amy-Jill Levine’s Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent.
Guided by Levine’s knowledge of the New Testament, strong storytelling skills and deep love of the gospels, Presbyterians will journey through Advent reflecting on the birth of Jesus as it is told in the first two chapters of the gospels of Matthew and Luke.
A free, downloadable group study guide, made by The Presbyterian Church in Canada, will be available in the fall. Taking into considering the rapid digital shift that has occurred in ministry in 2020, the study guide has been created with the specific dynamics of online group facilitation in mind; however, it is also an excellent resource for in-person groups.
Light of the World: A Beginner’s Guide to Advent
Light of the World traces the Christmas narrative through the stories of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the journey to Bethlehem and the visit from the Magi. Lingering in the often-overlooked details of these biblical characters and the situations they find themselves in, Levine explores the historical context, the literary and aesthetic implications, and the significance of the nativity story for readers then and now. Contemporary readers will learn how these texts would have been read by those in the time they were written, and also how Matthew and Luke’s accounts of the nativity continue to be good news for us today.
Don’t let the title fool you; this book is not just for beginners!
The book provides a rich and challenging learning experience for people from different stages in their Christian journey. As Levine draws us deep into the Nativity stories of Matthew and Luke, you’ll find yourself pondering allusions to Jewish texts and Roman history that you hadn’t noticed before, making connections to other stories in the gospels, and exploring themes that are as relevant today as they were when Jesus was born: birth and death, youth and aging, taxation and immigration, revelation and hope.