The final installment of our 2019 Advent Study is based on Luke 2:1-20.
The gospel of Luke is the only gospel that provides us with a full birth narrative of Jesus Christ. This story tells us of peace. Peace on earth. Peace to all whom God loves. We can imagine the peace Mary must have felt finally holding her son, or the peace the shepherds experienced when they saw that what was spoken to them by the angel was real. This was the promised messiah, here in the flesh.
God choose unlikely people to announce the messiah’s birth. The shepherds! They were seen as lowly and unimportant. Yet God uplifts them to share the good news that the messiah has come!
Guiding Questions for small Group Discussion:
1. As Shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night, they were probably fairly peaceful, before the angel of the Lord appeared. But what kind of peace must they have experienced after meeting the Messiah? Would it have been the same peace Mary felt?
2. What does this statement mean to you?
Peace among those whom God favors (NRSV)
Peace to all men & women on earth who please him (The Message)
Peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased (New Living Translation)
3. Why would it have been shocking for people to hear news about the messiah’s birth from the shepherds? Who do you think would announce a messiah’s birth in our generation?
4. Mary and Joseph were turned away at the inn in Bethlehem. This was because of the census being taken. All of Joseph’s family was in town! Have you considered they must have been turned away by family? How must have Joseph felt?