What is your favorite Christmas movie? 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 joy.
How do you define joy? Do you associate joy with the Christmas season? Why or why not?
Read Luke 1:39-56. In these verses, Mary receives the news that she will be the mother of the Messiah & then reflects upon what this means for God’s story with this beautiful song.
What stands out to you about Mary’s song? Are there any words or concepts that impact you more than others? Any that surprise you?
What does Mary reflect upon in her song that brings her joy? What insights does this reveal about the nature of God & Christ’s coming as the climax of God’s story?
Why does Mary believe that the nature of the incarnation will bring joy to the humble & downtrodden in particular?
Altogether, how might this text & what it reveals about the nature of Jesus’ arrival impact how we define joy & what we find worthy of joy in this world?
Close by reflecting upon your life right now.
In what part of your life or our world are you currently experiencing joy most easily? In what parts are you currently struggling to experience joy the most?
How might Mary’s song & Christ’s arrival reorient how you understand joy & find to be worthy of joy in these areas? In particular, how might it invite you to embrace humility & tangible care for the downtrodden in & through each?
Getting Out of the Hole
This week, reflect on the teaching from Sunday morning.
- How do you define joy? What is it? What isn’t it?
- In Sunday’s teaching, the panelists proposed that part of Advent Joy is beholding the salvation plan that God puts forward in Jesus Christ. How do we witness this type of joy in our lives & how is it different from happiness or a feeling? How can we see this joy unfold through, alongside, and even in hard times?
- Where have you felt a lack of joy in this past season? Write down what comes to mind.
- Next, reflect on how Advent Joy might change your posture within & towards this area of your life.
- Commit to reflecting on Christ’s arrival & Advent Joy 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 18th: Join us next Sunday for the fourth week of Advent!
* Please see mye3.org for details.