What is your favorite Christmas tradition (individual, familial, or otherwise)? Why?
This Sunday, Pastor Lori began our Advent series Christmas As, where we’ll be exploring Jesus’ birth story through the characters who were present for it. To kick things off, Lori explored the Advent theme of hope through Mary (Jesus’ mother).
Begin by reflecting on the Advent theme of hope.
How would you define hope? What sets hope apart from something like expectations?
Next, read Luke 1:26-38. Here, we find the story of Jesus’ conception through Mary who, shockingly, is an unwed, poor, oppressed Israelite woman. This is definitely not the kind of person a 1st century Israelites would have expected to be the mother of the Messiah, nor how they would have expected him to arrive.
Consider how this turned Mary’s life upside-down & upended any plans she had for her future. What do you imagine was going through her mind? Would you have responded to this situation with a hopeful “yes” like Mary does?
Next, read Luke 1:46-55. Here, we find Mary processing through this event through this powerful song.
What themes does Mary connect to the unexpected & upside-down way that Jesus arrived to the world?
How does Mary find hope within Christ’s arrival? How does it transform how she understands herself & her larger world?
Close by reflecting on how you might relate to Mary & how her story might change our definition of hope in this Advent season.
Consider a part of your life that currently feels chaotic, broken, or upended. Are you struggling to find hope within that area or relationship? How can you relate to Mary in that part of your life?
How might Mary offer you a healthier vision of hope that could help you better navigate what you’ve identified? How could your growth group help you lean into that hope during this Advent season?
Coming Out of the Hole
Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s teaching might speak into your daily life.
- How do you define hope? Do you find that your definition of hope allows you to hold onto it even when things don’t go the way you expected or wanted?
- How might Jesus’ arrival & birth story change your definition of hope?
- Where do you need the hope that comes with being able to find Jesus with you in all circumstances during this season? How might acknowledging God with Us in all things change how you interact with the hardest areas of life during Advent this year?
Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!
Simply Jesus by NT Wright
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent & Christmas (Advent Devotional)
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, December 10th: Join us next Sunday as we continue Christmas As & explore the Shepherds who witnessed Jesus’ arrival!
* Please see mye3.org for details.