(A Christmas gift for UPPC Group Life followers: an early blog! Life gets busy during the weeks surrounding Christmas, so I wanted to get this to you now. There will be another blog entry after the message on Dec. 31, but not until Tuesday Jan. 2. –Mike)
Cut off. Alone. That’s how Mary and Joseph might have felt.
The census Caesar decreed meant that Bethlehem was filled to bursting with every cousin, grandparent, and third-cousin-twice-removed who traced their lineage to the line of David. It probably felt a bit like some people’s Christmas gatherings, come to think of it.
So Mary and Joseph’s urgent need placed them in a vulnerable situation. Physically, because she was about to give birth. And socially, because who wants her to give birth in their living room? They must have felt so alone.
Ironically, alone was the last thing they were. Because moving and kicking inside of his mother’s womb was the very Lord of creation Himself, ready to disembark. Or, perhaps, to embark on what would become the most important life in all history. The life of “God with us.” No more would he be enshrouded behind a cloud on a mountaintop. No more would he be relegated to a tabernacle-tent. No more would he be veiled behind the temple curtain. God chose to be with us. And he meant it.
- Have you ever felt truly alone? What led to that loneliness? What did you do to cope?
- Have you ever known someone who was lonely? What could/did you do in response?
- If God chose to be with us in the flesh then, how does God choose to be with us in the flesh now?
- Imagine having an encounter with another human being that convinced you God was right there with you. What would that encounter be like?