December 4: Finding Rest
1. When has your future seemed uncertain? What was your relationship with God like during this time in your life? Was it easy or challenging to trust God?
2. What does it mean to you to “rest in God’s presence”? Name practices that help you rest in God’s presence. Who in scripture are good examples of resting in God’s presence? What can we learn from them?
3. What is the most frightening situation that you have ever been in? How did you cope with your fear? Were you to ever find yourself in a similar situation again, what would you do differently?
4. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” What comfort and assurance does this verse give you? In what ways does it challenge you? What invitation does it offer?
5. Do you ever struggle to trust God? Why can trusting God sometimes be hard? What words of assurance would you offer to someone struggling to trust God today?
December 11: All Are Invited
1. Suppose you were to host a party in your home. Whom would you be reluctant to invite? Why? What would make inviting this person less of a challenge?
2. When have you not received an invitation to an event that you expected to be invited to? How did it make you feel to be excluded?
3. What does it look like to be “in fellowship with all of God’s children and God’s creation”? What difficulties might this present? What opportunities?
4. How does your church community make people feel welcome and included? In what ways could it do a better job of this?
5. Name some stories from the Gospels in which Jesus made people feel welcome. What can we learn from these stories? Is there ever a time when it is okay to exclude others? If so, when? If not, why not?
December 18: Overcoming Darkness
1. When have you found yourself “walking in darkness — weary, grieving, or burdened by health or financial issues”? What kept you close to God during this time in your life?
2. When have you been surprised by finding God’s presence in a bleak situation? Why did it surprise you? What did it help you understand about God?
3. Is there ever a situation too hopeless for God’s presence? Why or why not? Support your answer with examples from scripture.
4. Where are you praying for Christ’s light to shine today? How can you help shine Christ’s light in these places?
5. What volunteer opportunities exist in your community that you can take advantage of during the Christmas season?
December 25: Christmas Day
1. Which part of the Nativity story is your favorite? Why? Whom in the story do you identify with the most? Whom do you identify with the least?
2. What special rituals, practices, or observances do you participate in during the Christmas season? Which of these do you find most meaningful? Why?
3. In what ways has God brightened your life in the past year? In what ways do you hope that God will brighten your life in the year to come?
4. What evidence do you see in your life and in the lives of those around you that God wants to connect with us? What can we do to make it easier for God to connect with us?
5. Spend a few moments in quiet reflection, considering what you are most thankful for today. Reflect on where you sense God’s presence the most in your life. What new opportunities or invitation is God offering you?
...devoid of our regular routine and filled instead with uncertainty and a hum of anxiety, my husband and I have found the practice of joining The Upper Room via Facebook to pray, listen, and learn in community, including my sister in Houston. This is a much-needed healing balm." Join us on Facebook Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 11:00 AM CT.