The Gift of Hope- Week 1
Anyone Can Meet A Need by Finding Room for Hope!
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
What are some of the most meaningful Christmas traditions for your family?
Which songs do you think best reflect the true meaning of Christmas?
How would you describe the world into which Jesus came?
The Christmas story never grows old. Indeed it should be fresh to us every year. Of course, it’s not just a holiday for the Christian—it’s a holy day. Many people find themselves to be busy during this time of year but leave out the most important person. Without Christ, though, there is no Christmas. Sadly, it’s easy even for the Christian to be so busy that we crowd Christ out of our Christmas celebrations—and the rest of the year too.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Unpack the biblical text to discover what the Scripture says or means about a particular topic.
Luke’s record of Jesus’ birth is both simple and magnificent. Luke’s record frames Jesus’ birth in historical terms while dramatically demonstrating how God chose to invade human history. God worked through the ordinary plans of government officials to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth and then used common people to spread the extraordinary message of His birth.
As with his other writings, Luke gives the historical setting of the birth of Jesus. What implications does this setting suggest about the world into which Jesus came?
What does the local setting of Jesus’ birth tell us about the way He entered our world?
When did you first sense that Jesus wanted to enter and reign “your world”?
Verse 7 says there was “no guest room available for them.” While this is certainly a historical event, how does it also serve as a metaphor for what happens with people’s rejection of Jesus today?
Jesus humbled Himself in ways beyond our understanding. This is how much He loved us—that He stepped out of heaven into a manger for us. And that was just the beginning.
What is one thing you can do as a group to help meet a need for someone?
Spend some time thanking God for the wonderful gift of Jesus and for the joyous fact that He led you to make room for Him in your heart. Pray that others may come to know the same peace and joy that you have experienced.
2:1 Augustus (meaning “Exalted,” a title approved by the Roman Senate in 27 b.c.) was the Roman Caesar from 31 b.c. to a.d. 14. This decree... that the whole empire should be registered was a census for the purposes of taxation and military service.
2:2 It is thought that Quirinius served two terms as Roman governor of Syria: from 6-4 b.c., and then a.d. 6-9. Jesus was born during the period of the first registration. There was also a census registration in Quirinius’s second term (Ac 5:37).
2:3-4 His own town refers not to where Joseph presently lived (Nazareth in Galilee), but to the town of his ancestral roots (Bethlehem in Judea), which was called the city of David because King David grew up there (1Sam 16:1). Joseph was descended from David (1:27). The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have taken three days and covered roughly 90 miles.
2:5-6 As months before in 1:27, Mary at this time was still only engaged to Joseph because they had not yet consummated their marriage via intercourse. Nevertheless, she was pregnant and ready to give birth.
2:7 The words her firstborn Son naturally implies that Mary later had other children (Mt 13:55-56). In that day, a newborn was wrapped... snuggly in cloth to keep its arms and legs straight. That baby Jesus was laid... in a feeding trough indicates that the family was forced to stay in a stable, or perhaps a cave that served as a stable, because there was no other room available in Bethlehem.