THE REAL LIVES BEHIND THE CHRISTMAS STORY
Day 1: During this series, we’ve addressed some of the real emotions as displayed and experienced by the real people who took part in the Christmas story. These emotions were not only real then for them, but are also real for us today. We also face questions, experience challenges, and are tempted with doubt and disillusionment. What has God been teaching you through this series? Have you connected with one particular person (Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary or Jesus)? Write one thing that you either had come to know for the first time or in a fresh way. How has your heart changed?
Day 2: Read Luke 2: 10-11. The angels declared the great news of Jesus’ coming. A coming, which was for ALL people including those with questions, doubt and disillusionment. Think of it, the angels who knew Jesus from all eternity past, are joyfully announcing the arrival of the Messiah, King Jesus to the entire world. How joyful are you about this news? What do you do to celebrate Jesus? How has Jesus brought joy into your life?
Day 3: If a certain musician were to come to KC some people would be happy. If a certain sports team were to win a championship, some people would cheer. If a certain politician were elected to office, some people would rejoice. But the message declared that night by the angels was for all people. No matter the background. No matter the past. No matter the hidden sins. No matter the fears. No matter the questions. No matter the level of doubt or disillusionment. Jesus came to meet us right where we are at. Jesus loves you that much. Do you receive the rich love of Jesus into your life? Or do you think it is for everyone else? What is it that keeps you from letting Jesus’ love into your heart?
Day 4: Jesus offers us so much but we have so very little to offer ourselves. The contrast is stark. Jesus knew our weakness and so He came to offer us strength. Jesus knew of our wandering potential and so He came to offer us direction. Jesus knew of our capacity to sin and so He came to offer us forgiveness and grace. He knew of our despairs and fears and so He came to offer us hope and peace. Yet we will often times do all that we can to come through for ourselves. Until we understand that Jesus is our everything, for all people everywhere, we will, in frustration, miss Him and His Kingdom. When are those times when you try to come through for yourself? Write them down. How did that work for you? Now get on your knees with open hands, give these times over to Jesus and ask Him in to guide and direct your circumstance.
Day 5: Joy to the World the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare him room; and heaven and nature sing. Have you truly received your King and prepared room in your heart for Him? Or are you just going through the motion of knowing about Jesus? Are you only doing your religious duty? Are you just pleasing a spouse? We can enjoy the traditions of Christmas without ever really allowing Jesus to come into the reality of our life. As you think about the start of a new year, what do you need to change in order to know and become more like Jesus? Don’t get overwhelmed with the big picture but instead think about these questions: Where am I on my journey of becoming like Jesus? What is my next step?