Don’t Miss Christmas
No holiday gets as much advertising time as Christmas. During December, you can’t turn on your television, open up a website or check your e-mail without hearing the word “Christmas.” Yet, you can miss the birth of Jesus.
Something to talk about:
The Christmas story is full of God’s use of the unexpected to change our world, beginning with the fact that He came to us.
- Stop filling my life with less important things: Our goal is to stay focused on Jesus Christ each day by ignoring the distractions that come into our lives. Sometimes we will lose our focus and those distractions can cause us to stub our toe or even do some significant damage to our walk with God. It starts gradually, it may only last a few hours or a few days. Regardless, of the circumstances or the time period, this is the time we need to refocus. As believers, we need, first and foremost, to focus on the Person of Christ. The world has a way of getting us down. The day-to-day responsibilities that we are given can feel burdensome. When we focus on these earthly things our eyes slip from the “things above.” Yet, it doesn’t have to be this way. Isaiah 26:3 holds the answer: You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” The truth is, we will all lose focus, stumble and fall every now and then. We may even get sidetracked for a while. But what joy it brings to know that when that happens, God will always be there to pick us up, tend to our wounds, give us the courage to trust Him, and the strength to begin again. Even when we get sidetracked, God will always help us find our way back if our eyes are focused on Him.
- Look closely at why Jesus came: Jesus came to give us hope. Hope for the future — that we will be redeemed. Hope for the present — that we are not alone, but are loved and have a purpose. Hope even over the past — that our failures are not greater than God’s power to transform. When we as believers speak of hope, we don’t mean a desire that may or may not be fulfilled. No, our hope is certain. Our hope for forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and a perfect, holy, eternal life, rests on the finished work of Jesus. Jesus — the sinless Son of God — died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose from the dead so that we too might have a sinless life in eternity. Paul describes Jesus Christ as “our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1) and “with hope” (Titus 2:13). Jesus not only came to bring hope. He is our hope.
- Listen to the good news of Christmas: The Christmas story is the most revolutionary story in the history of the world. It’s a story of God not just interacting with history or directing it, but entering into history. It’s a story of God-made flesh, setting aside all His divine rights to become a helpless baby and ultimately the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Christmas is about the Good News of God’s love. The Good News of Christmas is that God sent Jesus to seek and save the lost. The Bible says, “There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us” (1 Timothy 2:5 CEV). As you look around this Christmas, you’ll see plenty of good in the Christmas season. But remember that best of all is the Good News of God’s love. Through Jesus, you can experience rescue, recovery, and reconnection with God.
- How busy is your Christmas season? Does it have to be this way? Explain.
- Can you miss Christmas? I am not referring to the season, the day, or the activities we have at Christmas time, but an encounter with Jesus.
- How does the familiarity of the Christmas story make it hard for us to be challenged by its message?
- What is the real meaning of Christmas? What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?
- What are some excuses that we might offer for not growing closer to God at Christmas?
- Why did God allow for such a messy story to usher in the birth of Jesus? How would things be different if Jesus was born into a picture-perfect scenario?
- We can know the story of Christmas, but completely miss the message behind it. Why does this happen? What puts us in the position of missing it?
- Be honest. Do you see the Christmas story as exciting and relevant or boring and outdated? How does that influence the way you see God?
- Christmas was never meant to be an event or a season, it was meant to be a gift. Agree or disagree and why?
- How is Jesus the Good News for you this Christmas? In what ways can you tell others about this Good News?
- What can you do to better celebrate Jesus’ birthday?
- What part of the message resonated with you? Any particular applications you took from today’s message?
Take one thing home with you:
What does Christmas mean to you? Times with family and friends? Perhaps carols, cards, television specials? Maybe hectic shopping, family get-togethers around the fireplace, and decorating the tree? All these and more are part of Christmas in America, but a far cry from the first Christmas in Bethlehem. It was a simple scene that first Christmas – a rough room, a young couple, and nothing but a manger to put baby Jesus in. It was probably cold. Joseph and Mary had no support since the family was far away. Not exactly the Hallmark moment we like to show in Christmas pageants. And yet this simple scene marked the greatest event in the history of humankind.
God’s Son became man and came to earth to save us. God had promised to send a Messiah, one who would save His people. He could have easily burst on the scene as a full-grown man, a seven-foot warrior with fiery eyes and arms of steel. Or He could have been a mighty king or a hero. No doubt this is what most people were expecting. But that was not God’s plan. The Messiah came as a very small package, wrapped in rags, given from the heart of God; the perfect gift.