Luke 2:13-14 [NLT] “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’”The Shepherds who witnessed the armies of heaven showing up on earth must’ve been scared, but the birth of the Messiah was the greatest peace gesture in the history of humanity. At last, we could be in right-standing with God. Q . Think back (if you can!) to a time before you had a relationship with God. What was it like to be at odds with God? How is the peace in your life different now from what it was then? Q . What are a few substitutes people turn to in order to find peace apart from God? How do those substitutes fall short in the end?
John 14:27 [GNT] “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”Our Messiah didn’t just come to make peace between us and God – He came to equip us with supernatural peace for the challenges and worries of an imperfect life. Q . What’s the difference between the peace the world gives and the kind of peace that only God can give? Q . Peace doesn’t mean the absence of challenges – it’s a change in perspective; a different response. Think of a time when you asked God to remove a problem, and instead, He gave you peace in the middle of it. Was the end result still good? Were you closer to Him as a result?
3. Prayer FocusTake a few minutes as a family – thank Jesus for making peace between you and God. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and peace-giver when life gets stressful.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
Jesus Is… Emmanuel
1. Power Verse
Matthew 1:23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel (which means ‘God with us’).”What’s Up: “Jesus Is With Me Every Single Day!” This week, we continue our series called, “Jesus Is…” In this week’s lesson, we learned another word that is used in the Bible to describe Jesus. We learned that Jesus is…Emmanuel.
Read the Christmas Story from the Gospels (You choose which one you would like to read) or retell the story in your own words. Where was Jesus born? What do you think it looked like? (Have your child draw a picture of the manger on a sheet of paper.)
3. DiscussionChristmas is the birthday of a king. But, Jesus was not just ANY king. He was a king who left His throne in Heaven in order to come to Earth. His entire motivation was to save the world from their sin. Jesus chose to come to Earth not as a flashy king with a crown and material wealth. He chose the most humble beginnings – a stable and a manger. He proved that He was not in it for Himself, but for others. Jesus is Emmanuel – “God with us.” He didn’t wait for us to come to HIM. He came to us. He came FOR us. He came to be WITH us. No matter where we are, what we do, or what we face, we can always count on Jesus to be with us. When we face trouble in this world, Jesus can bring peace to our lives. Just like the shepherds – when we spend time with Jesus, we can feel His presence and His peace.
4. Prayer FocusPray for your child if they are facing tough situations in their lives. Pray they will be reminded that Jesus is always with them. Lead them in a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus’ sacrifice to come to Earth and pay the price for our sins.
Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
1. Primary Statement
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Of all the reasons to celebrate Christmas, this may be the most profound. After thousands of years of being at odds with the Creator because of sin, Jesus’ birth announced wonderful news – goodwill toward humankind!
2. Bible Verse
Without Jesus, we would all be destined for God’s wrath.
John 3:36 [VOICE] “Those who believe in the Son (Jesus) will bask in eternal life, but those who disobey the Son will never experience life. They will know only God’s lingering wrath.”
Revelation 20:12-15 [ESV] “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done… 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Q. Take a minute to consider what your fate would be like if Jesus had never come to earth. What feelings does that thought stir up? – Fear, Gratitude, Wonder?
Q. Consider how very real and intense God’s wrath is toward sin. How does that change your outlook on the unsaved people in your life?
Jesus’ sacrifice paid the price for our sin, and made a way for us to reconnect with a loving God the way He intended from the beginning.
1 John 2:2 [NLT] “He himself (Jesus) is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”
Hebrews 10:22 [NLT] “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean…”
Q. Think about the price Jesus paid so you could have access to God’s presence. Do you sometimes take that access for granted? What are some examples?
Q. What are some ways you could treat that access as more of a privilege and less of an entitlement?
4. Prayer Focus
Take a few minutes as a family and thank God for paying the price so you could be saved. Ask the Holy Spirit to develop gratitude and devotion in your heart, and to help you cherish the access you’ve been given to God the Father.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
1. Power Verse
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above.”
Watts Up: “God’s Gifts are the Best Gifts!”
Q. If you had all the money in the world, what would be the gift that you would give your best friend? (A new car, an ipad, video game.)
Q. Now, if you had all the money in the world, what would be the best gift you would give someone that absolutely hates you? (Maybe some rotten meat? A bucket full of slimy worms?)
Well, that might be what someone would give their enemy, but GOD gave the PERFECT gift to all of us—even before we loved Him.
We were enemies of God before we accepted Him in our hearts. Yet, God gave His one and only Son, Jesus. The Bible says that while we were still sinners, (while we still not living for God,) Christ came for us to save us and to take away our sin!
Now, THAT’S one perfect, undeserved gift!
Q. What are some of the best gifts you have ever received? Are you still as excited about them today?
God’s gifts make our whole life better, and help us to be a blessing to others!
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Let’s review the AWESOME gifts from God we have been studying the past 4 weeks:
GRACE: God gives us His grace, His mercy and His forgiveness through giving us His Son, Jesus.
JOY: Be quick to smile, laugh a lot and no matter what happens, remember that GOD GIVES JOY TO EVERYONE!
PEACE: Ask God for His peace! He’ll give you all the peace you need to help you through whatever comes your way!
WISDOM: Wisdom comes from God. We can use it to make good decisions, and find God’s perfect plan for our lives!
Think about God’s gifts. Are you excited to have them everyday?
4. Prayer Focus
Pray together and thank God for His many gifts. Not only did God send His Son, Jesus but He sent the Holy Spirit that brings us Grace, Joy, Peace, Wisdom, and so much more.