Catching the Christmas Spirit
December 1, 2005 - How do you and I catch the Christmas spirit if we're not in the mood for Christmas?
by Anne Graham Lotz
Should we decorate the house? Plan Christmas parties? Take gifts to the underprivileged?
What happens when you just can't psych yourself up for Christmas? The answer is simple. We get excited about Christmas by sharing Christ.
Read Luke 2:8-20
Know the Meaning of Christmas
What does Christmas mean to you?
Heaven Is Opened
- Describe the circumstances that surrounded the original "closing off" of God's presence in heaven to the world of humanity, in Genesis 3:23-24.
- Describe the people who first heard that Christ had come to "open" heaven, in Luke 2:8-9.
- Where were they and what were they doing? What does this mean to you?
- To whom has heaven been opened, according to the angel in Luke 2:10? See also Revelation 21:25-27, 22:17.
- Relate this to Genesis 28:10-12, John 1:47-51 and John 14:6. Who is the "ladder" that spans the gulf between heaven and earth, between God and man?
- When heaven was opened, who was revealed? See Luke 2:11.
- What does the name "Jesus" mean? See Matthew 1:21.
- Look up the definitions for "Lord" and "Christ" and write them out as they apply to Jesus.
- What was the Good News of Christ's coming, as related to heaven being closed since the beginning of human history?
- What was the purpose of this first Christmas morning? See Luke 2:13-14.
- Write out in your own words what Christmas means, according to Luke 2.
What is the miracle of Christmas?
Compelled by an Awareness of Emptiness
- Describe the dramatic visual, physical and emotional contrast between Luke 2:3-14 and Luke 2:15.
- How do you think the shepherds might have felt initially when the angels left?
- Have you ever had a feeling of letdown or extreme loneliness around Christmas? How have you responded to that feeling? Are you trying to maintain the emotion of Christmas or are you focused on the message?
- How did the shepherds respond to the Good News? See Luke 2:16.
- Why did the shepherds drop everything and hurry off to find the Baby?
- How was the promise of Luke 2:12 fulfilled in Luke 2:16? How does this also confirm Jeremiah 29:13? Proverbs 8:17?
- Use your imagination to write out a description of Luke 2:16, including the search, the scene and the stunning privilege of staring into the face of God.
- What time and effort will you make to "find the Baby" in the midst of your Christmas celebration?
- What will you do to help someone find Him this Christmas?
What is the message of Christmas? See John 3:16-17.
- What phrase tells you this encounter with Jesus was a personal one? See Luke 2:17.
- Following their encounter with the Baby, what did the shepherds do? See Luke 2:17-18.
- How does the shepherds' personal encounter with the Baby relate to 1 John 1:1-3? John 1:1-2, 14? Acts 4:20?
- What difference does it make if your witness is based on secondhand hearsay or a personal, firsthand experience?
- Of all those who were "amazed" at the shepherds' testimony in Luke 2:18, how many does the Scripture say went to see the Baby for themselves?
- Do you think the lack of response indicates there was something wrong with the shepherds' witness?
- How many people do you know who celebrate Christmas without "seeing" the Baby for themselves?
- How is this also addressed in Acts 28:23-31? 2 Timothy 4:2-5? Hebrews 6:12? 10:36?
- If you have shared the Christ of Christmas but have had no positive response, how are you encouraged by Acts 28:23-31? 2 Timothy 4:16-18? Hebrews 12:1-3? Galatians 6:9?
- How were the shepherds' practical circumstances the same after they had seen the Baby? How were they different?
- What evidence is there in Luke 2:20 that the shepherds had caught the Christmas spirit?
- Will verse 20 be a description of your attitude on December 26? If not, why?
- What phrase in verse 20 describes the total confidence the shepherds had in what they had seen and heard, regardless of the response of others?
- Is there any part of the Christmas Story that you doubt? What is it, and why? What will you do now to resolve that doubt, so that you can tell others the Good News of Christmas with confident joy?