Sun, Dec 04, 2016

Arise, Shine, Your Light Has Come

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Discussion Questions:

We encourage you to use copies of the printed worship bulletin and read the song lyrics as you discuss the following questions.

1) What has been your experience with Advent? When you were growing up, did your family or your faith community observe the season? How? Are you practicing any Advent disciplines this year (individually, as a family, or with friends)? If so, can you share any new blessings or insights from this experience so far?

2) The overarching theme of this weekend’s services has been Light coming into our dark world, based on Isaiah 60:1 —

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

Consider and discuss the implications of “light,” both physical and spiritual (clarity of vision, discovering or finding something that is lost, exposure of something hidden or shameful, etc.) What applications can you find in your own life at this point in time?

3) Darkness is often accompanied by coldness, as was alluded to in several of the songs this weekend, particulary See Amid the Winter’s Snow and He Shall Reign Forevermore, which begins,

“In the bleak mid-winter, all creation groans,
For a world in darkness, frozen like a stone.
Light is breaking, in a stable for a throne.”

How is spiritual coldness related to darkness? Are these just different metaphors for the same thing, or are there some differences to consider? Does light always bring warmth?

4) The arrival of Jesus, the Light of the world, brought Magi from the east, bringing precious gifts and bowing down in worship, as recounted in Carol of the Kings, Adore, and Adore Him. These last two pieces in particular emphasize the response we all owe to Christ – adoration and worship. For many of us, the Christmas story has become so very familiar (and is associated with so many other activities and traditions) that it can be hard to experience any sense of wonder anymore. How do we recover the awe and wonder and adoration that shepherds and wise men in the past knew? Does music help do this for you? (Is reading the lyrics in the program the same as hearing the singers and instrumentalists present the music live?) Are there other things as well that help you reconnect in deeper and more meaningful ways with the Christmas story?

5) The point was made that there are three kinds of people in the world: those who are in the dark, those who have seen the Light, and those who are walking in the Light. Which kind are you?

6) Isaiah 60:1 exhorts us not simply to receive the light, but to “shine.” Verse 2 goes on to say (in the Living Bible paraphrase), “Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you.” Where is the darkness around you – in your community, your workplace, your school, your neighborhood – where you can shine with the Light of Christ? How will you do that?

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