Looking back over your notes, what did you find most helpful, challenging or interesting in this
1. Christmas is right around the corner! By this time you’re sure to have heard a number of
Christmas songs. What are some of your favorites? Least favorites?
2. Luke spoke Sunday about how the joy of the Christmas season should be based in Christ. But
the further the holiday slides away from Jesus, the less joy the holiday promises. It becomes
more about the pressure of buying presents, decorating the house, and hosting or attending
parties. Do you find it challenging to remain joyful at this time of year? Why or why not?
1. We learned on Sunday that joy is a focus, not a feeling. Happiness is a feeling; joy is deeper.
With a godly focus, we can experience joy even in difficult times. Please read the following
passages about the focus we need to have in order to experience joy.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for
you in Christ Jesus.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because
you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its
work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NIV)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is
pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think
about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in
me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Did you have any insights reading these passages that you’d like to share?
Do you know someone who is a great example of joyfulness? What do think is their secret?
That is, what are they doing that is working?
2. The greatest reason of all for rejoicing is that Jesus Christ is Lord! Christmas therefore should
be a joyful time. Please read the following passage recounting the time that the angel, Gabriel,
foretold the birth of Jesus.
Luke 1:26-33 (HCSB)
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called
Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s
name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is
with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting
this could be. 30 Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with
God. 31 Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom
will have no end.”
Did you have any insights reading this passage that you’d like to share?
Mary was rightfully disturbed at the sight of an angel! Still, the angel told her to rejoice and to
not be afraid. What are some things the angel had Mary focus on to help her turn her fear into
Bringing it Home
What do you think is the most important thing to remember from this week?
Do you have any fear or anxiety that is stopping you from experiencing joy? If you’re
comfortable, please share.