Hope

Matt Stone
December 3, 2017

Hope

When we think about a vintage Christmas, no one longs for a Christmas filled with grief, sorrow, anxiety.  We long for a Christmas full of joy, hope and happiness.  Yet, for so many people, this is a season that is at-best a mixed bag, or, at worst, a season dominated not by the light of Christ but the darkness of loss and grief.  If this is the case for you, the real Christmas message has a word of hope.  The true hope of Christmas isn’t Christmas presents, colorful lights and candy canes.  The real hope of Christmas has the staying power to carry you through this season of grief and maybe even to redeem it. Are you ready to feel that hope, find that joy and maybe even begin to release some of the pain that is associated with this season? If so, let’s begin by taking a closer look at the real story of Christmas.

Questions for discussion:

· What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?

· Why do you think Matthew included the “slaughter of the innocents” in his telling of the Christmas story

· How does that story and the evil of the time that Jesus was born into communicate hope, joy and peace?

· What are some things in your life that make this season less joyful than it could be and what are some ways that a better understanding of this story help you with that?

Do something about it:

Part of reclaiming a vintage Christmas experience this year means confronting an unpleasant reality.  For many this is an unbelievably difficult time of year (lost someone, sick this year, fear, lonely, despairing that another year has gone by).  If your goal is to find that joy and hope or to release the pain that has been holding you back from experiencing it, consider helping someone else who is struggling this season and allow the joy of giving of yourself to others help you find the true meaning of this season.

Digging deeper:

Matthew 2:1-18; Isaiah 2:1-5; 9:1-7; Matthew 24:6-8; Revelation 21:1-7; 22:1-5; John 3:16,17