Christmas: The Music And The Meaning - Week 1

As your group comes together this week take a moment to listen to our “Come thou long expected Jesus” playlist or even share with your group to listen to before group or listen to one version after the icebreaker.

Welcome! Let’s get ready for this series of music. The guide below will be the basis for our discussion in learning (the head), personal growth (the heart) and real world application (the hands). You can also consider it this way, think, feel, act.

Opening Prayer:

God, thank you for bringing this group together. Please be with us as we prepare for the birth of your son during this Christmas season. Please open our hearts and minds as we discuss and discern your word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Ice Breaker:

Before the development of Shazam, some of you may remember playing “name that tune” with songs you heard on the radio. Without searching the web, see if you can name this classic Christmas hymn from the excerpt below:

“Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart”
The Head:

Advent is a weird time in the life of the church. On one hand we anticipate Jesus coming as a baby when he’s already arrived. Yet, we practice waiting and anticipation. Second, Jesus is at work in the world and us so he is also here. Thirdly, we look ahead to the future reign of Jesus. His second coming. 

Advent collapses time in a way. We live in the middle of the Holy mystery we proclaim each week when we say “Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again.”  Another way we say this is to refer to Jesus who was is and is and is to come.

Matthew 24:36-44 NIV

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

  • The verse references the great flood when talking about the coming of Jesus. What do you think of this comparison? 
  • In this comparison, is Jesus the flood? The ark? Something else? What do you think?

The Heart:
The scripture encourages us to be ready, watchful, prepared for Jesus coming. 

  • For what things are you longing, waiting? Hoping? Anticipating? Are you preparing for this in any way? (Maybe saving, studying, etc.)

  • Or if you’re not preparing, why not?  (Maybe due to fear, feelings of inadequacy, procrastination?)

  • How would your life change if what you are hoping for actually happened? 

The Hands:

  • Re-read the lyrics to Come Thou along Expected Jesus. In light of today’s conversation, what line is speaking to you this season? 

  • How are you preparing for Christmas? (mentaly, financially, decorating, shopping, socializing)

  • Are you doing anything to help your community prepare for Christmas? If not, what could you do to help your community?

Some ideas are:

Give to the Mozambique Christmas Offering

United Way Holiday Volunteer Guide:

St. Louis Area Foodbank:

St. Patrick’s Center/Catholic Charities

Closing Prayer

God, thank you for this time today. Thank you for this group—the various perspectives and experiences. Please be with us throughout the week and especially in the beginning of Advent season, as we strive to prepare our hearts and homes with much anticipation for the coming of Jesus.  In your name we pray. Amen.

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