Opening Prayer, Introduction
Christmas, Easter and Pentecost are the most important festivals in the Christian year of teachings. At Christmas we celebrate the miraculous birth of Jesus as the coming of God into the world. On Easter Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as a sign of our own resurrection. On Pentecost we celebrate the Holy Spirit of Jesus being poured out on all believers.
Christmas is preceded by the four Sundays of Advent during which Christians prepare for the coming of Jesus. Our first reading from Isaiah is a prophecy – words given to Isaiah directly from God over 500 years before the birth of Jesus. The part we read is the good news in a book that is mostly a warning to the people of Israel to turn from their rebellious and sinful ways. They ignored this warning and were overrun by other nations including Babylon and many were taken into captivity for 40 years. This prophecy gave those in exile – and us, hope of a better future.
Titus was a missionary and church leader who travelled and worked with the Apostle Paul in what is now Turkey and Greece. This is a real letter from Paul instructing Titus on what to teach about Jesus.
1. Reading and Questions for Discussion: Isaiah 9.1-7
1. Who is Isaiah and what type of writing is this?
2. What kind of distress would the people of Galilee be in?
3. What would they need for their daily lives?
4. What is this light that has dawned?
5. Why would people rejoice?
6. What is the “yoke that has burdened them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor”?
7. What is the destiny of this child?
8. How is His government going to be different?
2. Reading and Questions for Discussion: Titus 2.11-14
1. Who is Titus and what type of writing is this?
2. What does Paul instruct Titus to teach us about Jesus?
3. What is this “grace” and “salvation”?
4. What are we to avoid?
5. How are we to live?
6. What are we hoping for?
3. Reading and Questions for Discussion: Luke 2.1-20
1. Who is Luke and what type of writing is this?
2. What does the word “Gospel” mean?
3. How do we know this is a historical account written at a specific time?
4. Why was Mary riding a donkey for 90 miles to be with Joseph?
5. Why was there no room in the inn?
6. How did God intervene to authenticate this birth?
7. What does verse 19 tell us about Mary and Luke?
8. How do we know this is an authentic account?
Prayer Requests and Closing Prayer
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread (what we need)
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from the evil one.
For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory; forever and forever. Amen