Our desire as a ministry is for discipleship to take place at home and support parents in their role as the primary spiritual influence in a young person’s life. In order to do this we wanted to provide you with some follow up material to use at home to continue the discussion and have a better understanding of what we’ve been talking about during hsFUEL.
Dec. 4 & 11
(Parents, download a copy of the Parent Cue here)
It’s Christmas. Nativity scenes are everywhere. You know, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, and the drummer boy (who wasn’t actually there). Maybe you grew up seeing these scenes and wondered what they were all about. Or maybe you’ve heard the story a million times. Either way, there’s another story we bet you haven’t heard, characters you barely know, scenes you don’t see in the plastic nativity on your neighbor’s lawn. As we explore two often-untold parts of the Christmas story, we discover that God had something bigger in mind from the very beginning. And, just as it was true for those at the first Christmas, He may just have a bigger story in mind for us as well.
BOTTOM LINE: God is working in your story.
Christmas is coming! And with Christmas comes all the great things about the holiday season—presents, cookies, decorations, trees, snow, and more! But as great as this season is, Christmas can also be a reminder of everything that’s not so great. For many of us, the story of Christmas in our lives feels more like a story of loneliness, disappointment, loss, and struggle. For a season that’s supposed to be about celebrating all that God has done for us, it can also be a season that leaves us wondering where God is, what He’s up to, and why He hasn’t come through in the ways we hoped He would. Believe it or not, people have been feeling this way at Christmas for a long time—all the way back to the very first Christmas. Alongside Mary, Joseph, and some of the more familiar characters in the Christmas story was another guy named Simeon—a guy who was eagerly waiting and watching to see how God might come through for His people. And as we look at the way the Christmas story unfolded for Simeon, we’ll see that God is always working in our lives—sometimes in the ways we least expect.
BOTTOM LINE: God’s story > Your assumptions
It’s always difficult to tell a familiar story in a new way. Once you’ve heard something a thousand times, it just doesn’t come with that same excitement. And no story is probably more familiar and more frequently told than the Christmas story! Mary, Joseph, angels, the manger, animals, wise men, shepherds, Jesus—we all think we’ve got the details of the story down. But assuming we know the whole story can cause us to miss out on some of the most important parts—the who’s, the what’s, and the why’s behind what happened. We do this with God all the time! We think we know who He is, what He thinks, and why He lets things happen, and because of that, we miss out on what’s really going on behind the scenes in God’s story. That’s exactly what happened in the lives of some of the other key players in the Christmas story. Behind Mary and Joseph and all those other familiar names there was Zechariah. He was eagerly hoping God would write a new story in his life, but when it wasn’t playing out as he’d hoped, he started to make assumptions about God’s ability to come through for him. But as we see how his story unfolded leading up to the first Christmas, we’ll see that the story God is telling will always exceed our assumptions and expectations.