He wooed me as a child,
appealing to all my senses.
My mittened hand in my dad’s big gloved hand as
we walked toward the church on a snowy Christmas Eve.
Luminaries lined the walk,
bells chimed from the tower,
and the fragrance of pine enveloped the sanctuary.
An unusual hush was over the congregation as we waited
for the service to begin, for this, my father whispered, was a holy night.
Then, the service began when, from the back balcony,
a lone soprano’s voice filled the air:
Though my church as a child did not hold to the Bible,
the carols and the hymns we sang did,
and stayed in my memory,
playing a part in helping me to listen when, as an adult,
the gospel was presented to me.
Though today is Christmas Eve, and this week probably filled
with activity for us,
let’s fill our hearts with the angels’ song,
so that we might sense His presence and love well.
Sunday, Christmas Eve, 2017
1.What stands out to you from the above? How does it cause you to reflect?
2. How will you help this to be a holy night for yourself or those you love?
Monday, Christmas Day, 2017
3. Share any way you sensed the presence of God yesterday.
4. How will you help this day be a holy day for yourself or those you love?
5. We are going to study the angels’ prayer of praise this week, but I’d love for you to listen to the prayer Michael Card imagined Joseph might have had and share your reflections:
Tuesday, Dec 26: What did the angels sing?
6. Describe the scene in Luke 2:8-9.
7. Do you see any correlation between what we have already studied with Zechariah and Mary? If so, what?
8. What did the angels sing? Find everything you can.
Wednesday, Dec 27: Does peace come to everyone?
The translations vary between:
It all comes down to one Greek letter, and if it present or not in the earliest manuscripts. Most scholars lean toward the translation “peace with whom his favor rests,” or “peace with whom He is pleased,” but the following verses may illustrate that both translations actually end up saying the same thing. Indeed, peace is offered to all, but only those who receive the offer will experience His favor.
6. What do you learn about the connection between righteousness and peace in the following?
A. 1 Corin. 10:5-6
B. Hebrews 12:14
C. Matthew 5:8
D. Romans 15:13
7. Do you agree that both translations could be saying the same thing? Why or why not?
Thursday: John Piper’s Reflections
Read or listen to this short commentary on the above from John Piper.
8. What thoughts do you have concerning the above?
What stood out to me in Piper’s thoughts was this: The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. It is not that we must be perfectly obedient to have peace, but that we must have faith in the promises, so that the focus of our life is to please Him, and to truly repent when we don’t, and to believe in His love. I do not want you to be thinking that “I have pain in my life because I am not pleasing Him,” for that is a lie from the enemy. We all have pain, the righteous and the unrighteous. But we can have a peace even in the midst of pain, as we have seen with godly women here, because we are confident of God’s love, and can cast our anxieties on Him, knowing He cares for us. Why does He allow pain if He loves us? One day we will understand how He used it for good, but for now, we trust His promises of love and care and sovereignty.
Friday: Dialoguing with the Prince of Peace
9. Prayer is meant to be a dialogue. So tell Jesus your anxieties, one by one — and allow Him to speak into your soul. He may not do it immediately, but keep watching for the word, the answer, the peace. Share what happens.
Saturday: Reflecting on Advent 2017
10. What do you think you will remember about the prayers of Christmas? Why?