25 December Something is here - Jesus

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24 December, 2021Advent

READ  

Is 9:2-7 

2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;

those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.

3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy;

they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder.

4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders,

the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood

shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders;

and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

 

Lk 2:1-20

1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 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: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And sud-denly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

DISCUSS

1.   How has your week been? 

2.   How have you seen God at work in your life this week?

3.   Read the passages again. 

4.   How does the first passage relate to the second passage?

5.   We all know the story of the birth of Jesus. Did you notice anything different today?

6.   How do you relate to the shepherds in the story?

7.   What is challenging in these passages?

8.   Is there anything else the passages are saying to me?

9.   What am I going to do about it?

10. Who am I going to share it with?

11. Be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY   

Sweet Child of Bethlehem, grant that we may share with all our hearts in this profound mystery of Christmas. Put into the hearts of men and women this peace for which they sometimes seek so desperately and which you alone can give to them. Help them to know one another better, and to live as brothers and sisters, children of the same Father. Reveal to them also your beauty, holiness, and purity. Awaken in their hearts love and gratitude for your infinite goodness. Join them all together in your love. And give us your heavenly peace. Amen.

–Pope John XXIII

More from 'Advent'

19 December - Share the Story - Love

19 December, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

READ

Micah 2:2-5a

2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

5 Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.

6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Lk 1:39-45, (46-55)

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise

46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,

47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;

53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been?

2. How have you seen God at work in your life this week?

3. Read the passages again.

4. What surprises you in Mary’s words?

5. What resonates for you in Mary’s words?

6. What is challenging in these passages?

7. Is there anything else the passages are saying to me?

8. What am I going to do about it?

9. Who am I going to share it with?

10. Be prepared to share back next week.

PRAY

“Let me turn the spotlight on God’s greatness!

With all that I am I dance with joy over God, my saviour!

God has smiled upon me, though I was no one special.

Now I’ll be remembered forever as the favoured one.

The supreme God has done wonderful things for me.

No other name is in the same league as God’s.

In every generation, those who treat God with respect

are rewarded with showers of mercy.

With sleeves rolled up, God has made a show of strength,

and sent packing those who were so full of themselves.

God has kicked the power mongers out of office,

and lifted the downtrodden back to their feet.

God has put on a feast for those who were hungry,

and slammed the door on the rich without giving them a bite.

The Lord’s servant Israel receives a helping hand.

God always remembers them with tender care.

This is exactly what God promised long ago,

a vow made to Abraham and Sarah for every generation.”

©2000 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net

Translation of Luke 1:46-55

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12 December 2021 Noticing the Signs - Joy

12 December, 2021 Rev Brian Hoole

READ

Isaiah 12:2-6

2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the LORD GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.

5 Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth.

6 Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

Luke 3:7-18 7 John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9 Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.” 15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16 John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” 18 So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been?

2. How have you seen God at work in your life this week?

3. Read the passages again.

4. Where do you see the signs of God at work around you?

5. Where do you see the signs of God at work within you?

6. How do you encourage others to recognise the signs around them?

7. How do you or would you try and live out these verses in your own life?

8. What is challenging in these passages?

9. Is there anything else the passages are saying to me?

10.What am I going to do about it?

11. Who am I going to share it with?

12. Be prepared to share back next week.

Prayer

Gracious God,

in this Advent of expectation you call us to be awake and ready

to recognise the signs of your kingdom in our midst

A kingdom of justice and mercy, of joy and of peace.

Open our eyes to your presence in our lives and in our world

that we may perceive and announce Christ’s saving presence to all who wait in darkness. Grant this through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Amen.

Through Christ, our Lord. Amen

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27 December - Good Shepherd

27 December, 2020

READ

2 Kings 6:8-23 Elisha and the Arameans

Hebrews 12:1-3

Here’s what happens. The national scene in Israel has drastically changed since last week, the stormy days of Elijah’s confrontation with King Ahab and Queen Jezebel and the prophets of Baal. Elisha is now respected by King Jehoram and te Israelites are back following God. They are now defending themselves against the neighbouring tribes, in this case the Arameans. God gives Elisha the battle plans for Israel’s enemies, the Arameans. Finally, the king of Aram is fed up with losing and sends an army to surround Elisha and his servant. But Elisha sees a more powerful army of God’s angels, not visible to most. God opens Elisha’s servant’s eyes to see the angel army.

Memory Verse “No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).

DISCUSS

1. Is Jehoram a good king?

2. What do you know about Elisha?

3. Who are your cloud of witnesses? Those who support and encourage you and help you reach your best. Thank God for them and pray for them.

4. What were your battles this week?

5. What do you need prayer and support for in the coming week?

6. Who do you need to pray and support this week?

7. be prepared to share some of these questions next week about what God has done.

PRAY

Let us pray

Loving God we are so blessed to be a part of your kingdom. We are ever aware of our need for your constant love and care. As we journey through this week Lord hep us to be aware of the challenges before us and the spiritual battles that we engage in. Do not let us be overwhelmed but rather as we see and respond in faith to hear the support of that great cloud of witnesses that sit in our corner cheering on our behalf. Give us the strength and perseverance for our daily battles and help us to support others in similar need. In Jesus name we pray

AMEN.

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20 December - Unexpected Love

20 December, 2020

READ

Luke 1:26-38 (47-55)

Here’s what happens.

The angel appears to Mary and tells her the good news that she is to give birth to the

Saviour of the world .In verses 47-55 Mary responds with her prayer that is used below.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work?

2. How did you experience joy over the past week.?

3. Give thanks for how you have seen God at work and the progress you made last week?

4. What does this passage tell us about God?

5. What does it tells us or challenge us about the Christian life?

6. Mary demonstrated courage to say yes to God. What do you need to have courage for this week?

7. Who do you need to tell about Jesus, and the good news this week?

8. What are you going to do about this in the coming week?

PRAY

“My soul magnifies the Lord,

and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,

for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

for the Mighty One has done great things for me,

and holy is his name.

His mercy is for those who fear him

from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm;

he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,

and lifted up the lowly;

he has filled the hungry with good things,

and sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,

in remembrance of his mercy,

according to the promise he made to our ancestors,

to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Luke 1:47-55

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13 December - Joy in All Circumstances

13 December, 2020

READ

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Here’s what happens.

Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to rejoice, pray and give thanks at all times and in all places. This is not about how we feel but rather how we decide to act.

DISCUSS

1. How has your week been? How have you seen God at work?

2. How did you go with the idols and distractions that you named last week.?

3. Give thanks for how you have seen God at work and the progress you made last week?

4. What does this passage tell us about God?

5. What does it tells us or challenge us about the Christian life?

6. What are the things that currently give you joy?

7. What are the hard things or people that you find it difficult to experience joy or give thanks for?

8. What are the things that hold you back from being thankful?

9. What are the things that hold you back from being prayerful?

10. What are you going to do about that in the coming week.

PRAY

God of all blessings,

source of all life, giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:

for the breath that sustains life,

for the food of this earth that nurtures life,

for the love of family and friends

without which there would be no life.

We thank you for the mystery of creation:

for the beauty that the eye can see,

for the joy that the ear may hear,

for the unknown that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,

for the expanse of space that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.

We thank you for setting us in communities:

for families who nurture our becoming,

for friends who love us by choice,

for companions at work, who share our burdens and daily tasks,

for strangers who welcome us into their midst,

for people from other lands who call us to grow in understanding,

for children who lighten our moments with delight,

for the unborn, who offer us hope for the future.

We thank you for this day: for life and one more day to love,

for opportunity and one more day to work for justice and peace,

for neighbours and one more person to love and by whom be loved,

for your grace and one more experience of your presence,

for your promise: to be with us, to be our God, and to give salvation.

For these, and all blessings,

we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,

through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Vienna Cobb Anderson

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