What’s your favorite thing about the Christmas season? Why?
This Sunday, we continued Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas where the Church reflects upon & anticipates Christ’s arrival. In particular, we focused on how Jesus’ birth transforms how we understand peace.
How do you define peace in your own life? What does it feel like? What do you “need” to have it?
Read John 14:25-27. As Sam talked about on Sunday, the peace that Jesus offers revolves around the Hebrew concept of Shalom, which describes an inward sense of wholeness & completeness.
How does this concept of shalom sit with you? How is it similar to & different from how you normally think about peace?
Why does Jesus describe such peace as a gift rather than something that we create for ourselves?
How does experiencing God’s presence with & acceptance of us as we are allow for us to experience this kind of shalom?
Close by reflecting on where you need peace during this advent season.
Where have you been trying to create peace by your own will & failing to achieve success?
How might adjusting your goal in that situation from creating “peace” to experiencing shalom change how you engage in that area of your life?
How might focusing on Christ’s presence & acceptance help you experience shalom moving forward in whatever you identified? What can you take away from your group’s discussion to help you reorient yourself during this advent season?
Getting Out of the Hole
This week, reflect on the teaching from Sunday morning.
- Where have you felt a lack of peace in this past season? Write down what comes to mind.
- Next, reflect on how much of that has to do with your own efforts to control things outside of your control in that area of your life. Consider people, events, places, or circumstances.
- How might the concept of shalom change your focus in this area of your life? How might it reorient what you think peace might look like? How can it change your actions & attempts to control the uncontrollable in this part of your life?
- Commit to reflecting on shalom over this next week. See if that impacts how you engage these hard areas of your life during this Advent season.
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!
Matthew Commentary by Stanley Hauerwas
Simply Jesus by NT Wright
Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent & Christmas (Advent Devotional)
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, December 11th: Join us next Sunday for the third week of Advent!
* Please see mye3.org for details.