Thursday, 27 November 2014
Christmas with the shepherds #church #homegroup
We are just 4 weeks from Christmas now, so tonight I thought we could think about the true meaning of Christmas and especially about what it was like for the shepherds who play a key part in the nativity story.
So let's start by hearing what the bible says about the shepherds.
Luke 2:8-20 (CEV)
That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened. But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s home town a Saviour was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”
Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:
“Praise God in heaven!
Peace on earth to everyone who pleases God.”
After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.
When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.
As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.
1. Why shepherds?
Of all the people the angels could have visited, why do you think God sent them to the shepherds? They were not only ordinary but they were considered outcasts - smelly people who were on the edges of society and only allowed to look after sheep well away from people and in danger from wild animals and thieves. They were humble and uneducated and simple and they came as the angels told them to. What can this tell us about how we approach Christmas? and Jesus?
2. What names for Jesus?
What three titles are given to Jesus in verse 11? (Saviour, Christ, Lord)
What do these mean?
They are about Jesus being a treasure - so I wonder, what do you treasure the most about Jesus?
3. How did the angels appear?
Angels appeared to the shepherds whilst they were sitting around, being themselves, doing their jobs. What might this tell us about how and when God might communicate with us?
Has God ever spoken to you in your ordinary life?
How? When? What was that like?
If not, do you think you might have missed Him speaking to you?
4. What gifts has God given us?
Have you ever been given something precious? A treasure? What?
Do you ever think about this as being a gift from God?
What has God done that you find wonderful and amazing?
As we come into the last 4 weeks of preparation for christmas let us remember that Jesus came for everyone and is the greatest gift we can ever be given. Let us give thanks for the amazing gifts He has given us and ask that He keeps our minds away from the worry and money and business of Christmas and towards the focus of love and joy that Jesus gives us and our families.