Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Churh...at Home!

Christmas Church at Home
December 25, 2011

We at KCC hope that you and your family are having a great Christmas celebration! Wherever you are, if Jesus is in your heart by faith, you can have ‘church’—especially as you are able to join with other family members and friends.

We wanted to put something together for your reflection, enjoyment, and participation which might help you to remember the True reason to celebrate today, and to give Him your worship as you do so.

Let us encourage you: If you have access to a computer, check out the links. Take the time to discuss the questions. Take turns reading the passages out loud…in this way, we believe you will find yourself moved, reflecting on God’s love for you, thankful and humbled before Him.

May God bless you and your family.

Merry, blessed Christmas!

Pastor Dave and the KCC Staff

To begin, check this out:
(copy and paste links in separate browser):

(youtube: Linus Christmas monologue)

Discuss your answers to these questions:

Do you have a ‘best friend?’ Who is it?

Has your best friend ever been nice to you when other people weren’t?

Have you ever had someone stick with you when other people turned their backs on you?

Have you ever had tough circumstances in life, when a close friend was a welcome relief?

Have you ever been the one to stay by a friends’ side through difficult circumstances?

What is the value of a friend who is “WITH” you—in every way?

Read these accounts of Jesus’ birth:
(Suggestion: Take turns reading each paragraph.)

(Matthew 1:18-24)
“18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, her fiancĂ©, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
(“Jesus” means “The Lord saves”.)
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.”


How hard do you think it was for Joseph to believe the Angel and marry Mary?

What was his response to God’s message to him?

(Luke 1:26-38)
“God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.”

Watch this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ezwp10egu-c

(The Nativity Story, part 5/10, the clip begins at the 1:13 and goes to the 6:30 mark.)


Why would it have been difficult for Mary to follow this call?

What was her response?

What name were they supposed to give Him? What did it mean?

In the passage from Matthew, the angel said (or implied) that this child would be the actual Son of God.
(See Matthew 1:20, 23 and Luke 1:32, 34)

According to the Scripture, what does “Immanuel” mean?
(See Matthew 1:23)
Watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOQRtYYERGo (Amy Grant: Breath of Heaven w/Footage from The Nativity Story)
Jesus’ birth—and the miraculous way it happened—meant that He was literally the “Son of God”. He was partly ‘God’, partly ‘human’ (because Mary, his mother, was human).
He was—in a very real sense—“God in the flesh”. (As one writer referred to Him: “God with skin and bones”.)

That meant that God was—while Jesus was alive, at least, “God With Us.”


How would it help you to know that Jesus—as a human—could relate to some of the struggles that you go through?

Would it help you to know that Jesus understands your difficult days, your hurts, and even your temptations? How?

Colossians 1:15 says that “Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.”

Hebrews 4:15 says that He “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same [trials and temptations] we do, yet he did not sin.”

So…if Jesus was “God in the flesh”, or “God with us”…and if He still IS with us and is still “saving His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), how can that help you?

If all true, how does that change the way you think of Christmas?

(youtube: The Nativity Story - "Come and Worship" Bebo Norman)

Finally, sing this song together
(or listen to it at the link below, or on a cd of your own.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNL8yHomU2s&feature=related (Youtube: Amy Grant Little Town)

O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel
Watch this and sing along!
(Joy to the World, Chris Tomlin, Joy-Unspeakable Joy)

Finally, close in prayer, thanking God for sending Jesus to be “God with Us”, and ask Him to remind us always that He IS with us—always!

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