Longing For…
It’s sometimes hard to put words to, but at our deepest levels, to be human is to long for something, not a day, an event, or a thing, but something outside of ourselves. In our best attempts the words we might use to describe this longing are hope, love, joy, or peace. This season of Advent, these weeks leading up to Christmas, are a time to sit in that longing, to live it, to feel it, to experience and reflect on what it really is we desire— and in sitting with and in this longing we might find on Christmas Eve that our longing has arrived—that our longing is “With us.”

He wore clothes made of camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey. John the Baptist certainly has a bizarre appearance, but Advent is never complete without this profoundly joyous character. Deep down we all long for the kind of joy that John the Baptist has (though, we might not long for that outfit). As we continue to await the birth of Christ, in our longing may we find the kind of joy that compels us to shout at the top of our lungs, “Here comes the kingdom of heaven…Prepare the way for the Lord!”

Small Group Questions: Sunday, December 11, 2016
Week 3: Longing for Joy

  • In reading Matthew 3:1-6 and/or recalling the sermon you listened to, what did you find most interesting or important?
  • When was the last time you experienced joy?
  • What is your first reaction of John in this scripture? How would you describe him?
  • What is all this talk about repent? What does repent mean to you?
  • An understanding of repent is to ‘turn away from’, but to turn away from something you must also turn towards something else. What do you need to repent of in your life so that you can experience the joy of following God more closely?

Taking the Next Step of Discipleship
During this advent season, we invite you to take the next step of discipleship by going against the grain. Don’t give in to the commercialism that accompanies Christmas, but instead focus on what truly brings joy to your life.

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