June 1: A Place to Retreat
1. Where do you go to find peace and rest? Why this location? How does being there change your mindset?
2. Do you ever feel like you need to escape the hustle and bustle? Why or why not? What prayers and spiritual practices help you find calm in such times?
3. In scripture we read that Jesus needed to get away from the crowds and find rest. Why do you think this was necessary? Does it help you relate to him more? Or do you find it hard to understand why Jesus would need time alone with God?
4. How do you breathe in God’s peace? Do you find that you are better able to experience God’s peace when you are alone or with others? Why?
5. How does your church make time for quiet moments with God? In what ways can you more intentionally seek quiet moments of peace while in community with other Christians?
June 8: From Grief to Hope
1. When obstacles block the way to your goal, how do you usually respond? Do you forge ahead, or do you tend to turn around and abandon your goal? Why?
2. Describe a time when you noticed a parallel between your immediate situation and your larger faith journey. What did you learn that shaped your faith for the future?
3. When you are sad or grieving, do “briars of sadness” remain for you despite scripture’s assurances? What comforts you when you still feel sad after reading scripture?
4. If you have ever recited scripture as you worked, like today’s writer, what passage did you recite? What other spiritual practices do you engage in while you work?
5. When and where are you most comforted, refreshed, and renewed by God? What is it about that place that helps you feel close to God?
June 15: Behind the Scenes
1. Why do you think we are so quick to value and praise people who work on stage or in the foreground? Why is it so easy to forget about the good work of those in the background?
2. Do you consider yourself a leader in your faith community, or are you most often in the background? Why? Do you consider the work you do important? Why or why not?
3. What forms of appreciation from others mean the most to you? In what ways do you most enjoy showing appreciation to others? Why is it so important to show appreciation for one another’s work?
4. Who in scripture comes to mind as someone who worked as a leader, front and center? Who in scripture served quietly behind the scenes? What do you admire and what can you learn from each of these people?
5. Who in your community is always working in the background? How do they help your community? How might you show them this week that you value their work?
June 22: Unclaimed Blessings
1. Recall a time when you left something behind. Were you eventually reunited with the lost item, or did you have to leave it behind permanently?
2. Have you ever missed out on something because you failed to ask for it? What kept you from asking? How would you handle the situation differently if you were given a chance to redo it?
3. Do you ever feel that you are undeserving of God’s blessings? What makes you feel that way? What scriptures remind you that God wants to bless each of us?
4. When have you confidently asked God for something? Did God give it to you? How might the outcome have been different had you not asked God for it?
5. How do members of your faith community ask for blessings for themselves and others? In what ways does your faith community encourage you to ask God for the things you need?
June 29: Hollow Trees
1. Today’s writer connected what she saw in nature with her faith journey. What have you observed in nature that has taught you about your faith? How has that changed the way you experience God?
2. Do you find it easy or difficult to reveal your vulnerabilities to others? Why? What happens when you share your hurts and heartbreaks with those around you?
3. When someone opens up to you about their “hollows,” how do you respond? What comfort can you offer them? Do you find it easy or difficult to know how to respond?
4. What scripture passages give you the courage to share your heartbreak with others? What prayers comfort you when you are feeling hollow? How does God help you in those times?
5. Why do you think it is important that we share our burdens with others? What difference would it make in your church, your community, and the world if everyone openly shared their burdens?
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.