Week 4 – Be Joyful

December 18-24

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With only seven days to go, we discuss ways to find the most important qualities of a meaningful Christmas. Join us to discover practical steps to find your joy.

Gracious and loving God, your grace abounds new each day. Help us to cultivate that joy that only comes from your Spirit. When we consider the awe of your creation, your salvation that you freely give, our hearts are lifted on wings like eagles. As we enter these days of anticipation, let us truly experience the joy that is made complete in you.


  • Because it’s Christmas, we can rediscover the joy of finding ourselves as part of God’s story. Like a child’s joy when they are found in a game of hide-and-seek, Jesus brings joy to the world because he comes and finds us to give joy in the daily parts of life. How do you rediscover the joy in your life each Christmas?
  • Watch Who Were the Shepherds? and answer these questions.
    • When announcing the birth of Jesus, what were some of the reasons God chose the shepherds?
    • What parallels do you see between the first-born lambs and Jesus?
  • Joy is not dependent on circumstance. Joy finds its way into daily struggles, illness and sorrow.
    • How do you find joy despite circumstance?
    • What are some of the things that keep you from experiencing joy?
  • Remember how you first discovered the joy of being found by God? When did you first feel the joy of the announcement, the invitation to come and see?


  • For many of us, faith has come because someone else invited us to share in their joy.
    • Who was the person or persons in your life?
    • How can you be that person for others?


Resource Suggestions


Daily Devotional

Luke 2:8-15 NIV

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Week 3 – Worship

December 11-17

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When the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus, her first response was one of worship. This Advent, amid the rush of gifts, parties and decorating, we can follow Mary’s example and offer our devotion to the Christ child.

Holy God, you ask us to be present. Present to your love and grace that is given freely. When we surrender, you do extraordinary things in our ordinary days. You turn our hearts to you and the hope and light you bring. Help us take the faithful step to turn ourselves over to your invitation to transform us.


  • If you’re not worshiping God, you’re worshiping something else. Some of us worship our work, our families, our status and money, our country, or our ego. What are the competing things in your life right now? How do you stay focused on God and not idols?
  • There are so many ways to look at worship. We have many words to describe the act of worship: adoration, exaltation, praise, thanksgiving, remembrance, devotion. Describe in your own words what worship is for you. How does worship help you focus and lead you forward in the way of Christ?
  • The places and things that ultimately transform the world and our lives are not the places and things we expect. How are you open to God in new ways?
  • There is great power in the ordinary and unexpected. God is calling you to the next step in your faith – what is it? What is standing in your way? What can get you to say yes?



Resource Suggestions


Daily Devotional

Luke 1:46-55 NIV

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—



holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”


1 Samuel 2:1-11 NIV

Hannah’s Prayer

Then Hannah prayed and said:

“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
    in the Lord my horn[a] is lifted high.
My mouth boasts over my enemies,
    for I delight in your deliverance.

“There is no one holy like the Lord;
    there is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.

“Do not keep talking so proudly
    or let your mouth speak such arrogance,



for the Lord is a God who knows,
    and by him deeds are weighed.

“The bows of the warriors are broken,
    but those who stumbled are armed with strength.
Those who were full hire themselves out for food,
    but those who were hungry are hungry no more.
She who was barren has borne seven children,
    but she who has had many sons pines away.

“The Lord brings death and makes alive;
    he brings down to the grave and raises up.
The Lord sends poverty and wealth;
    he humbles and he exalts.
He raises the poor from the dust
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes
    and has them inherit a throne of honor.

“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s;
    on them he has set the world.
He will guard the feet of his faithful servants,
    but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness.

“It is not by strength that one prevails;
10     those who oppose the Lord will be broken.
The Most High will thunder from heaven;
    the Lord will judge the ends of the earth.

“He will give strength to his king
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”

11 Then Elkanah went home to Ramah, but the boy ministered before the Lord under Eli the priest.

Week 2 – Forgive

December 4 – 10

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Christmas is a time for giving – presents to our friends and family, time to service and money so others can enjoy gifts. While we are in this giving mode, why not give the gift of forgiveness? Jesus came to earth to reconcile us to God and others. Let us remember that gift this Christmas.

Holy God; creator, redeemer, sustainer. Your grace is ever flowing, your mercies are new each day. Your love and forgiveness knows no bounds. Help me to be your agent of peace, love and forgiveness in our broken world.


  • It is important to understand that forgiveness is not the same as forgetting. Can you “forgive and forget?” What is the difference between forgiving and forgetting?
  • Human experience reveals that forgiveness is hard. There is always unresolved pain, tension, offense and much more.
    • Do you have a relationship that you cannot forgive?
    • How do you use God’s support to forgive others?
  • What is your most memorable experience of forgiveness?
  • We all know the pain from being wronged by someone we love. How can our belief in God help us move forward?
  • The secret and power to exercising forgiveness is to realize you have received tremendous grace from Christ. How does this factor into your willingness to forgive?
  • What is your role in forgiveness?



Resource Suggestions

  • Watch the Guided Christian Meditation: Embracing Forgiveness
  • Watch BibleProject: The Messiah
    • Scripture from Isaiah describes the Messiah in this video.
    • What is the significance of Juda in the promise of the Messiah?
    • What does Messiah mean to you?


Daily Devotional

Isaiah 11:1-9 NIV

The Branch from Jesse

11 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.



He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Week 1 – Believe

November 27 – December 3

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Sometimes the innocent joy of Christmas experienced by children becomes a tired cynicism of the season when we become an adult. We can still find the beauty and excitement of Christmas. It will not come by believing in a season, but a Savior.

Gracious Holy God, prepare our hearts. Open them to receive your grace and love. Allow us to experience the awe and mystery of your incarnation. To transform our worry and toil into hope as we expectantly wait for the miracle of the birth of our savior, Jesus.

These questions are created from the pastor’s sermon notes each week for the use of our groups that meet to discuss the sermons together.

  • In the sermon, we heard about Ted Lasso. What does the word BELIEVE mean to you? What does this word touch in us and what did you feel when you saw the sign?
  • Read John 1:14. When God became flesh, God made a choice to be with us, this is something we can believe in. So why is it so hard? Why does it feel like we grab hold of this belief for four or five weeks but by January, it’s disappeared, and we are out looking for signs of God’s presence again?
  • The point of Jesus’ incarnation is not that you believe in God. The point of the incarnation is that God believes in you. If God believes in you that much, that God would become flesh, what is God asking you to do?
  • When have you felt cynicism creep into your thoughts this week? What brought you back the beauty and excitement of the true meaning of Christmas?

Do you want to have a good Christmas? Get up every morning and say, by the grace of God, Jesus Christ believes in me! And if Christ believes in you, maybe God’s right and you can do the things that you know you should do and that you long to do. You can be kind and just. You can seek reconciliation. You can offer hope to the hopeless and you can love. That is something to believe in!



Resource Suggestions


  • Traditional: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
  • Modern: Angels from the Realm of Glory (Emmanuel)

Did You Know?

John 1:1-18

The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.



15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

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