Good News: Week 1

Jesus Sets Us Free

Week of November 29

Openers & Ice Breakers
How early is too early to start celebrating Christmas? A common question these days, but one that the church has its own answer to. Traditionally, the church has celebrated Advent during the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It is a season of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Jesus.

This can look a lot of different ways. Some people light candles on an Advent wreath. Some spend time intentionally reading scripture and in prayer. Some enjoy daily treats like chocolate or beer from an Advent calendar (less spiritual, but very fun). For all of us though, this season is an invitation to slow down, look inward, and consider our relationship with God. Jesus came to us on the first Christmas and he will come again. How will we live in light of this truth?

Luke 4:16-21

" Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

      The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    to proclaim release to the prisoners
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
    to liberate the oppressed,
   and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.”

Application Questions:
The good news of Christmas is that Jesus comes to bring us freedom. The mention of the ‘year of the Lord’s favor’ in this week’s passage points us to the practice of honoring a Year of Jubilee. Once every 50 years Israel would set all slaves free, forgive all debts, and allow the land to rest. For us, this freedom looks like forgiveness of our debts, the ability to rest, and the invitation to start over.

  • Consider what you are living indebted too. What expectations or experiences do you need freedom from this Advent?

  • Christmas time is a challenging time to rest. What is one thing you can hand over to God in order to find rest this season?

  • Imagine for a moment that you are about to start over in a place where no one knows anything about your past, good, bad, or otherwise. You’ve been granted the gift of a clean slate. How would you go forward? What kind of life would you build? How can you embrace that freedom in your life as it is today?

Taking it Further:
Check these out to take the heart of this series and our discussion further this week:

  • Once again we are releasing a devotional for the Advent season. Each day will include scripture, a short reflection, and a prayer. You will be able to find the devotional on The Gathering app and website. The best way to keep up, though, is to have it drop into your inbox each day starting tomorrow. You can subscribe to

  • A new family of podcasts called ‘The Hub’ has just launched. There are shows for prayer, devotionals, families, and teens. Each show releases a new episode every week. Check them out in The Gathering App.

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