- What piqued your curiosity, challenged you, encouraged you, or motivated you from the sermon?
- The census was an unwelcome intrusion into the lives of Mary and Joseph and the Jews of this time. Yet God used it for his purposes to fulfill an age old prophecy. Was there a time in your life when you saw God take an unwelcome, unexpected intrusion or turn of events and use it for good … redeemed it?
- Bethlehem means House of Bread. Discuss the significance of this.
- Luke 2:10-11 says, But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. What is the good news? How would you explain it to someone who asked?
- God-among-us was placed in a feeding trough — the Holy amidst the ordinary, the profane. What are the implications of this for our daily lives? How might this awareness affect how we see the world, how we work, how we engage with people?
- Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” The Roman Empire was an empire at peace. That peace was achieved through the pax Romana — peace born of violence, fear, and intimidation. Contrast the peace of God/peace of the Kingdom and the peace of empire. Do you think the Church today embodies the peace of God? Why or why not? How different is our worldview than that of empire?
The Gospel writers didn’t record the life of Jesus like a security camera would — every event recorded in chronological order. They wrote theologically — that is, they wove the story together to make certain points and sometimes veiled allusions. Luke writes (hyperbolically) “that all the world should be registered.” Census and taxation were local affairs and conducted by local government and certainly would not have impacted “all the world.” What point or contrast might Luke be trying to make by including this phrase in the birth story of Jesus?
Bethlehem was one of the towns where the lambs for sacrifice were raised. Jerusalem was where they were slaughtered — offered for sacrifice in the temple. Jesus’ life begins in Bethlehem and ends in Jerusalem.
- Look for God in the ordinary. Look for beauty where you might least expect it. Choose to see the image of God in someone you struggle with.
- Examine your worldview. Do you find yourself considering political clout and war to “fix” world issues?