Opening Questions and Prayer
When you were a kid, what was a gift you really hoped to get for Christmas?
For those of you who received it, was it everything you hoped it was?
If not, why not?
If you didn’t get it, how did you feel?
Ask the Lord to guide your time studying the Bible. Ask Him to help you find true hope in Him alone.
Read Matthew 1:18 NLT
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why would God choose an unwed woman to bring the Messiah into the world?
What would people during that time period think of Mary becoming pregnant before her wedding?
Why would some people have missed how God was sending the Messiah into the world?
How do people miss Jesus and the hope of the Gospel today?
What is something you can do this Christmas season to make sure your hope is grounded in Christ Jesus?
Read Philippians 2:5-11
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
6 Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
What did it cost Jesus to be born as a baby to Mary?
How did Jesus humble Himself?
What are some ways we can humble ourselves?
What happens when we live in submission to God’s plan for our life instead of our own plan?
Read Romans 8:5-9
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
How did Mary let the Spirit of God control her life?
What are some areas that are hard for you to let the Spirit of God control?
What’s one thing you can do this week to give more control to the Spirit of Christ living in you?
Who can you talk to about this to hold you accountable?
Read Matthew 1:19
19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
Why didn’t Joseph believe Mary?
What could Joseph have done to Mary?
See Leviticus 20:10 “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.”
How did his actions show he was a righteous man?
What are some reasons we doubt God’s working in others’ lives?
How can you be righteous in your actions this week?
Read Isaiah 53:1-6
1 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm? 2 My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Who was Isaiah referring to with this prophecy?
How did Jesus’ birth start to fulfill this prophecy?
What are some ways the Lord took our unrighteousness and made us righteous?
How can we spread that hope to others this week?
Who will you tell specifically about the hope of Jesus?
Philippians 2:7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
Closing thoughts and prayer
Just reading about how the Messiah entered into this world shows us that God’s ways are so much higher than our ways. This story of hope, redemption, and righteousness was brought about through an unwed girl and her soon-to-be husband who didn’t believe her. This season, may you find your hope, true hope, in the hope of Jesus Christ and what He did, and is still doing in your life. He also desires to do that work in those around you as you live a righteous life for Him.
Spend some time praying for those who have lost hope this year. Pray that God would give you divine appointments this week to talk to others and spread His hope that only comes through Jesus.