11 Dec Discussion Guide: For Unto Us Week 2
Take the first 10 minutes of your time together to listen to what God is doing in one another’s lives and pray for any specific needs people in your group may have.
This week we continue our series focused on Christmas called For Unto Us. Christmas season can be filled with so much busyness, hustle-n-bustle, and lots of complicated decisions and relationships. In the midst of all of this it can be so easy to forget about the true and pure simplicity of what Christmas is all about. Three thousand years ago a promise was made by a good, righteous, and holy God to a rebellious, hard-hearted people. But, this promise was not of ultimate judgement, but rather of ultimate deliverance. This deliverance would come through the seemingly inconsequential birth of a baby in an insignificant part of the world. But, as we’ll see this month, that birth was anything but inconsequential.
What is the best Christmas light display you have ever seen?
What do you like most about seeing Christmas lights?
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
How would you describe darkness?
How does darkness make you feel?
How would you describe spiritual darkness?
Scripture says that God is light and there is no darkness in His presence. It tells us that Jesus is the light of the world. So then, spiritual darkness occurs in those areas where we feel or experience the absence of God’s will and God’s presence in our midst or our situation. Now, that could mean that God’s presence is actually not with us, or it could mean that we just aren’t seeing God in our situation even though He is there. In that place there is typically a sense of hopelessness, despair, depression, and fear.
What might cause spiritual darkness in our lives?
There are a few things that may cause spiritual darkness. The first cause is unrepentant sin. Isaiah tells us that our iniquities have separated us from our God (Is. 59:2). If God is light and God is righteous then we shouldn’t be surprised when in our pursuit of darkness and unrighteousness His presence cannot be felt or found. The second cause is simply a lack of spending time with God. Through reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, being in fellowship with other believers, God reveals Himself to us and through us and in that place of openness He draws near to us. The third cause is God’s desire to lead you and mature you. We see this in the book of Job. God, in a sense, was hiding Himself from Job because He knew that would cause Job to come looking for Him. God knew Job would cry out for answers and would go on the pursuit of seeking God’s presence, and it is in that seeking process that we step off the path of familiarity and routine and begin to blaze a new trail in our hearts and minds that takes us deeper into the intimate knowledge of who God is.
Have you ever been in a dark place on a personal, spiritual level?
If so, how did you feel in that season of life?
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”
How would you describe spiritual light?
Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
What would you say brings light into our darkness? Why do you say that?
Have you ever experienced spiritual light in your life? If so, how has that impacted your life?
Isaiah tells us that the child born to a virgin, lying in a manger, will be the light of God that breaks into the darkness of the world. How is Jesus the fulfilling t of that promise? How does Jesus’ light push back the darkness in our lives and in our world?
How can you, as an individual, be a bearer of that light to the world around you?
How can we, as a community, be bearers of that light to one another and to our city?
Take a moment to put together a plan to do something as a group for Christmas that will shine light into the darkness of our city.