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.”
Abraham hoped for family, land, and lineage. David hoped for his kingdom to become bigger. And in exile, the people of Israel hoped to be returned to their home. We all hope for something, more, something greater, something outside of ourselves. As the season of Advent begins, we long for that which will fill our hope—the one who is our hope.
Small Group Questions: Sunday, November 27, 2016
Week 1: Longing for Hope
- In reading Matthew 1:1-17 (or just 16-17) and/or recalling the sermon you listened to, what did you find most interesting or important?
- Why do you think it was important to the gospel writer to begin the gospel this way? What is significant about those names he listed? How has their hope been fulfilled through Jesus Christ?
- If you know the story of the people of Israel, you know that there are many times when they found it hard to hope. When was a time in your life where you lost hope? How did it come back (if it did)?
- What do you hope for? What do you long for?
- How can people tell that you hope for those things? What are you doing to prepare for the realization of your hope?
Taking the Next Step of Discipleship
During this advent season, we invite you to take the next step of discipleship by using our Longing For daily devotional guide. You can participate on your own or with your family. Download a pdf copy of the guide at http://www.arborlawnumc.org/longing-for.