Fellowship – Snacks (10 minutes)
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants discuss the following: “Tell of a time when you were disappointed in a gift you did or did not receive.”
Read: Matthew 2:13-23
- We read another story of Joseph’s trust in one of God’s messenger’s instructions. Trusting these orders required Joseph to lead his family beyond the boundaries of God’s Promised Land and from his country of residence. They will have to flee to another country to seek asylum from the brutal reign of Herod. (Much like people of Israel did, Jesus will flee to and from Egypt.) Even when the holy family returned, they returned to a different town. This move was to a tiny town that probably afforded some concealment from other potential political despots. Though Joseph and Mary were obviously ecstatic about their new arrival in the infant Jesus, their optimism and joy were put to the test as they journeyed. Following the excitement and joy of Christmas, in what ways can we continue to be obedient to God to persevere through the trials and routines that replace the ribbons and décor of the holidays?
- Sometimes our journeys seem to take detours or side trips. What spiritual practices and what can this group do to help provide encouragement for you for this part of your journey?
Read: Isaiah 63:7-9
- During Advent, we took a journey, carrying with us peace, hope, joy, and trust. On Christmas, we celebrate love’s birth among us. Yet despite all this, there is still hurt and injustice in the world. One of the ways we continue on is through giving testimony – telling again and again the stories of God’s faithfulness and singing God’s praises. Take turns sharing stories of God’s faithfulness that you witnessed during Advent. If no stories come to mind from Advent, think back further to share a story of an encounter with God’s grace.
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or similar prayer:
God of the future, we can grow uneasy when our path seems unclear and the future certain. Our emotions can flutter from excitement to despair from minute to minute. In our anxiety, may we trust again in your faithfulness to fulfill your promises. Amen.
Las Posadas: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/worship-planning/are-we-there-yet/first-sunday-of-advent-year-a-planning-notes/advent-2019-order-of-service
Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy 2019: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/articles/advent-candle-lighting-liturgy-2019