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The Spiritual Dimension of Christmas:
Preparing for Christ's Birth

A Course using Life Experiences, Spiritual Practice and the New Testament

Offered by Friends in Christ

Greenbelt Middle School, Room 109
8950 Edmonston Road, Greenbelt, Maryland

Wednesdays, 7:30 - 9 PM
December 8, 15 & 22, 1999

Inclement Weather Policy

   Our agreement with the School does not permit us to meet on days when the Prince George's Public Schools are closed to evening activities. Normally, when the Schools close for the day, they are also closed for evening activities regardless of how good conditions may be by that point. In the past, we have had occasion to be unable to meet thereby even though it was clear and dry in the evening. If there is inclement weather anytime on a day we are scheduled to meet, listen to radio or TV for school closing announcements, or go to Schools-Out.com for current information.

The Christmas season in modern America is filled with lights and glitter. Our natural instinct to honor and delight our loved ones has often been used by commercial interests to push us into an orgy of spending. Our desire for fellowship during this darkest time of the year often results in an array of parties with gluttonous eating and destructive drinking. Putting aside all this feverish running around, we are able to see that there really is a profound reason for true joy. Through Scripture, listening to God in our own experiences, and prayer, let us rediscover the real basis for celebration.

Session 1 - December 8:  The Promise

At the heart of Jesus' ministry is the promise that God's reign on earth will come. Pain, suffering, injustice and even death will end. Peace will abound. A new earth will come into being. Jesus and his disciples looked to the writings of the prophet Isaiah as an expression of this longing and promise. Even those of us who have not read the Bible have felt deep within us a hope and yearning for a better world, free of suffering and discord. We have also sensed that our cold separation from God will be overcome eventually. It is these hopes and promises that lie at the root of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

   
Read:
Isaiah 35:1-10
Road of Holiness
   
  Isaiah 25:6-9
The Banquet
   
 
Isaiah 11:1-9
Peaceful Kingdom
   
 
Isaiah 65:17-19, 25
New Creation
   
 
Revelation 21:1-4
New Earth and Heaven

     Queries:
  1. Are you generally optimistic or pessimistic? What life experiences developed these basic feelings?
  2. Do you feel an expectation that God will create a world of peace, joy, and justice? What is your role in this process? Where do these feelings come from in your experience?

Session 2 - December 15:  The Waiting

An essential aspect of spiritual living is waiting. God has His own agenda. He comes and creates on His schedule, not necessarily ours. Learning to wait and be attentive are thus crucial to spiritual formation. At its essence, this discipline requires us to let go of our own agendas. To be truly alert is to be open to life and to be unfettered by our own plans. When we reach this state, we find that God is already here, breaking quietly into our existence.

   
Read:
Habakkuk 2:1-4
Watch
   
  Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the Lord
   
 
Mark 13:28-37
Be on watch; be alert

     Queries:
  1. Describe a life experience when you had to wait. What were some of the problems you experienced in waiting? How did you learn to wait?
  2. How is waiting part of your spiritual practice? Does your preparation for Christmas include watchfulness?

Session 3 - December 22:  The Coming

His disciples first saw Jesus as a man, a teacher, a healer, a worker of God's miracles. They gradually saw in him much more - God Himself! When this realization occurs, we see Jesus' birth as a mighty event: God Himself breaking into our lives. Time evaporates: the birth in Bethlehem is happening now in our own lives.

   
Read:
John 1:1-18
The Word became flesh
   
  Luke 2:8-14
Your savior is born

     Queries:
  1. How have your perceptions about Jesus changed over the years? How have these changes affected your life?
  2. How has your spiritual preparation for Christmas affected your behavior and thoughts about this holiday?
©1999 Friends in Christ, Inc.

Friends in Christ, Inc.
701 King Farm Blvd. #134
Rockville, MD 20850-6168
E-mail fic@friendsinchrist.net

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 09:35:35 EST