Joy to the World
These questions are meant to be a choose-your-own-adventure. That is, use what you like. Skip what you don’t. And add to it in any way you see fit.
- Do you or your family have Christmas traditions that you really enjoy? Any that you absolutely do not enjoy?
- A question about the nativity? Any strong feelings one way or the other about the inclusion of the Wise Men? The Bible is very clear about this. They were not there at the birth of Jesus. Just wondering if anyone is at all bothered by this? (Ha, ha!)
How Will This Be?
Read Luke 1.26-34
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
- The only thing we get from Mary is “How will this be?” but there must have been much more going on in her in mind and heart? What do you think of her reaction? What else do you think might have been going through her head?
No Word Will Ever Fail
Read Luke 1.35-38
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
- “No word from God will ever fail.” That is quite the promise. Why do you think this is such a powerful thing for Mary to hear? For us to hear?
Blessed Are You
Read Luke 1.39-45
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
- Among many great things in these passages, we see the story of a great friendship between Mary and Elizabeth. React to these ideas…
- Friends point one another toward the promises and faithfulness of God.
- Friends bless one another without keeping score.
- Friends care for one another in practical ways.
- When have you done this?
- When has someone done this for you?
- Even in the best of times, we are hungry for others to bless us. Thinking about your close friends, how can you bless them?
- And in what ways, if you’re honest, are you in need of others to bless you or care for you?