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Advent Discussion Guide

Advent 2020 | First United Methodist Church of Rockwall

Sent: Delivering The Gift of Hope At Christmas 

Session 1— “Sent: To the Unexpected”

Scripture: Luke 2:8-10

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people…”

Discussion:

  1. What are your observations and take-aways from the Waffle House story and Katie’s experience in the shepherd’s field?
  2. What do you make of the phrase “Sometimes when you do something you don’t normally do, you see something you don’t normally see”? If you’ve had such an experience, what was the result? Did you learn something about new about yourself or someone else?
  3. In Jacob’s story about his trip to Waffle House, he rhetorically asks, “If that grand announcement came tonight, would God go to Waffle House while it was still dark and tell the ladies who work all night?”  Have you ever thought of the shepherds as being the unexpected recipients of the good news? Who should have been the recipient of the good news first? Read John 20:11-18. How does this scripture mimic what the shepherds experience?
  4. How have you seen Jesus at work in the unexpected? In people? In situations and experiences?
  5. What unsuspecting way is God working in your life this Advent season? Who is God asking you to notice that you have not seen before?
  6. What does it mean to say grace travels? How have you seen grace at work lately?
  7. Katie says, “Again and again, Jesus comes to the unsuspecting, unqualified, and undeserving. Because good news is not good news unless it is good news for all—no exceptions. Because grace travels. It isn’t stored in the tallest tower only for the ones who can afford it or who earn it.  It is here—and not only is it here, it walks and moves and breathes among us. It is wrapped in swaddling cloth and changes the entire world.” Even as God comes incarnate in the world, God does so in the most unexpected way, by coming not as a mighty warrior, but as a helpless infant. What does this tell us about who God is? 
  8. How are we to be “grace” in the world?

Closing Question: Do you have a story about Advent or Christmas that changed everything?

Closing Prayer: Holy God, you come to us in the most unexpected of ways. As we experience this season awaiting the good news of great joy for all the people, help us to look for your divine spark in all we encounter. May we remember that you dwell in the unexpected, and as God took on flesh in the form of a powerless infant—in need of our hands and feet to carry and feed him, help us to continue to be the hands and feet of Christ sharing God’s grace with all we encounter. Amen.