Welcome to the first week of our December series, Focus For This Season. This week we look at the “Magnificat,” the song of Mary. We see that Mary saw herself as a part of a bigger picture of what God is doing. We also have a conversation about gratitude, filling and identity.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
Share Part of Your Story
How much of your Christmas shopping have you completed already? What gift are you most excited to give?
Is there something that will make the holidays difficult for you this year? How can your group pray for you and support you?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
The holidays are a time of celebration and blessing, but can also be a time of disappointment in ourselves, others or our circumstances. What is going on in your life right now that might make the holidays difficult or disappointing?
Have some read aloud Luke 1:46-55. What words stand out to you?
What has recently happened in Mary’s life? Who is she visiting?
Mary felt seen by God. How does she describe herself? Do you feel like God sees you? Why or why not?
Mary says God had lifted her. What does she mean? Share with your group a time when you felt like God lifted you.
Mary recognized God fills the hungry with good things. She contrasts the proud/mighty to the humble. What is she trying to say about God?
Mary knows God remembered. How does Mary see herself in what God is doing? What type of language does she use to describe this? What’s our role in what God is doing?
Mary’s song has four important statements: He sees me, He lifts me, He fills me, and He remembers me. How do you think Mary’s song could help us when we feel low and like we have nothing left to give?
Have someone read Philippians 4:6-7 aloud. What is the significance of gratitude in this verse?
Why do you think it is essential to come to God not only with our requests but also with thanksgiving?
What are some of the things gratitude pushes out of our lives? How can developing a heart of gratitude shape the way we live and our outlook on life?
What is something you are thankful for today?
Have someone read Proverbs 4:23 aloud. What do you think it means?
What are some ways we can guard our hearts? What is one way you can intentionally guard your heart this week?
Pastor Jeff Manion challenged us to complete this sentence every day, “Today my heart is ______ (glad, mad, sad, excited, afraid, ashamed, tender or other).” Why do you think he asked us to do that? How might it help you with what you are going through in life right now?
If you had to pick a word right now, which would you choose and why?
We were challenged to continue by choosing a Fruit of the Spirit and asking God to fill us with it. As a group, try and name the Fruit of the Spirit. How could asking God to fill you with a specific Fruit impact your day?
What do you want to be filled with today? Do you feel like it is happening so far today?
Have someone read Ephesians 5:1-2 aloud. How does it make you feel to know you are God’s dearly loved child?
The core of our identity is that we are God’s dearly loved child. How can remembering this change the way we view ourselves?
How can using the journal help us invite God into our heart work and change us for this holiday season?
We discussed how Mary’s song encourages us when we feel down and want to give up. We were also challenged to lean into the Focus For This Season card and journal. What’s one thing you want to do this week to take a step in either of these areas?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Discuss how you and your group can better engage the people in your life outside your small group.
The Christmas season presents a unique opportunity to invite others to church. Who do you want to invite to join you at church this season? How can your group be praying for you and that person?
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Sermon Discussion Guide for the sermons on December 22–23 and December 29–30. It will resume January 5–6.
We hope you will gather together to celebrate, have some winter fun and continue to pray for one another.
Download a printable PDF here.