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For study and reflection, personally or with family, friends, or your small group:
To help get you started, read Luke 2:1-40, Matthew 2:1-12 and Galatians 4:1-7. In light of these passages, discuss the following questions.
At the time of Jesus’ birth, there were a lot of new developments going on in the world due to the advance of the Roman government. There are a lot of new developments happening around us today also. How are these developments helping or hindering God’s work in the world today?
Joseph and Mary were obedient to the decree that Augustus, the Roman Emperor made even though it required that they travel while she was expecting the birth of the baby. What are some ways we allow inconvenience or hardship to excuse us from being obedient to the government, or to God today?
Simeon was waiting for the coming of the Messiah, and because of his obedience, the Holy Spirit was able to lead him to the temple at just the right time to see Jesus. After the death of her husband, Anna never left the temple, but stayed there day and night fasting and worshiping God. What was it that motivated their commitment to God? What motivates our commitment to God today?
King Herod did some terrible things to the Hebrew families because of his jealousy of anyone whom he felt could challenge or take his place as ruler, yet, God, in His timing, used those things to bring about fulfillment of prophecy and validate the birth of Christ. Share an experience when, after looking back on it, you recognized God was at work when you didn’t know it at the time.
It’s interesting to me that it was lowly shepherds that God had chosen to announce the birth of the Messiah. Yet, when they went and found baby Jesus just as the angels told them, they told everyone what they had seen and heard. If you have found Jesus, are you excited to tell people about him? Make a list of people you would like to share this with, and pray for an opportunity to do so.