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.”
“And they will call him, Emmanuel. (Emmanuel means “God with us”).” Jesus Christ—Emmanuel—God with us—is our hope. When that hope is fulfilled, when we feel, see, or experience the reality of God with us, we find that we are no longer unsettled or rattled, but rather, we find peace. There’s a reason we will gather again in just a few days to sing the words, “all is calm,” because indeed, when we find our greatest longing has been fulfilled, all is calm and there is peace.
Small Group Questions: Sunday, December 18, 2016
Week 3: Longing for Peace
- In reading Matthew 1:22-25 and/or recalling the sermon you listened to, what did you find most interesting or important?
- This week we focus on “peace.” When/where do you experience peace?
- Martin Luther King Jr. once bemoaned those who “prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” Which kind of peace do you long for?
- Jesus, Emmanuel, is God with us and the bringer of peace. Who is this good news for? Who is this bad news for?
Taking the Next Step of Discipleship
Often we want those who point out what is wrong in our world to just stop complaining. Wouldn’t it be so much more peaceful if they would accept the way things are? But perhaps they are fighting for true peace. Perhaps they are fighting for the peace that is found when God shows up. Take the next step of discipleship this week and make space for those who are clamoring for true peace. In doing so, you will also be making space for God.