Opening Questions and Prayer
What are some things you love about Christmas?
How does the way the world loves differ from how God loves and tells us to love?
Thank God for His love for you and for sending Jesus.
Read Isaiah 9:1-7 NLT
1 Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. 4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. 5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned.
They will be fuel for the fire. 6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!
From Isaiah’s description of the Messiah, what were the Israelites expecting from the prophesied Savior?
How was Jesus different from what they expected?
How did Jesus free us from slavery and lift a heavy burden from our shoulders?
When we live in that freedom, how can that show His love to others around us?
Read John 3:16-17
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
How did God show love for the world?
What do these verses teach us about the character of God?
What’s one way you can share this message with someone this week?
Read Matthew 1:18-19
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. 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.
How does this description fulfill the Isaiah passage you read previously?
Why would God choose to show His love to the world in this manner?
How would you have responded if you were Joseph?
What are some ways we miss how God is working in our lives?
Read Matthew 1:20
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Why does the angel address Joseph as the “son of David?”
See 2 Samuel 7:8-16 8 “Now go and say to my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I took you from tending sheep in the pasture and selected you to be the leader of my people Israel. 9 I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have destroyed all your enemies before your eyes. Now I will make your name as famous as anyone who has ever lived on the earth! 10 And I will provide a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure place where they will never be disturbed. Evil nations won’t oppress them as they’ve done in the past, 11 starting from the time I appointed judges to rule my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. “ ‘Furthermore, the Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! 12 For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he sins, I will correct and discipline him with the rod, like any father would do. 15 But my favor will not be taken from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from your sight. 16 Your house and your kingdom will continue before me for all time, and your throne will be secure forever.’ ”
How did Jesus fulfill this prophecy?
What fears might Joseph have had to take Mary as his wife?
What are some fears you are experiencing right now?
How can you have faith in God’s great love for you to face those fears?
Who is someone facing something fearful this week that you can point to Jesus?
Read Matthew 1:21
21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Why was this such an important thing for Joseph to hear?
Why is it more important for the people of God to be saved from their sins than to be saved from the Roman rule?
How has the Lord saved you from your sins?
See Romans 5:6-11: When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Who needs to be saved from their sins?
How can you have a conversation with them this week that points them to God’s great love for them?
Who can remind you to do this?
John 3:17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
Closing thoughts and prayer
The birth of Jesus is a great reminder of how much God’s ways are higher than our ways. An unwed pregnant teen, a nice, but reluctant fianceé, seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Yet, they loved God and had faith in Him so He used them in mighty ways to share His love with the world. The Lord wants to do the same with you. There will be moments of fear, second guessing, and disappointment along the way, yet God will be there. Listen to Him, let His love permeate every action, conversation, and decision.
Pray for those people who do not yet know the love of Jesus. Ask the Lord to direct you this week into their lives to share His great love with them.