It is recommended that you use copies of the printed worship bulletin and read the song lyrics as you discuss the following questions.
- What has been your experience with Advent? When you were growing up, did your family or your faith community observe the season? How? What meaning does Advent have for you now?
- Jesus Child asks repeatedly, “Have you heard the story?” Most of us have heard the Christmas story more times than we can count. What is the value of retelling a story that is so familiar? How does/can music enhance or enrich the telling?
How did you first hear/learn the story of Jesus’ birth? How did you come to understand the meaning of the story?
- I John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . . .” God’s love is the theme of the this year’s Christmas Worship Celebration, and several of the songs (Sanctuary; Of the Father, to the World) speak of fear. What fears do you struggle with? Would you be willing to share some of that with your group? How does God’s love drive out fear? In what ways might the Christmas season actually heighten or exacerbate fears and anxiety? How do the truths presented this weekend address that?
- “Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats o’er all the weary world.
And man at war with man hears not the love song which they bring.
O hush the noise and cease the strife and hear the angels sing.”
from Midnight Clear
Spend some time pondering this text, which seems especially pertinent and poignant these days. How can we hush the noise? Cease the strife? Hear the music of the angels? Is it even possible in our culture? Or is this just a quaint, old-fashioned carol that has no relevance to the current situation in our world?
How can you “sing” the love of God to those who need it – to those who are suffering, fearful, or in despair?