Merry Christmas! I hope you have an especially moving and powerful experience of the birth of Our Lord. When we tune in to God's Light, it becomes more clear and bright. But do not be discouraged if Christmas Day turns out to be a disappointing or distracting day. We have eight days of Christmas and 40 more days on our Oriens journey. There will be plenty of time to savor Christmas joy.
May you be encouraged by the words of G.K. Chesterton: "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." Prayer is something you just keep doing, and don't worry too much about how it's "going." This coming week you might find more time to pray as the pressure comes off from the holiday preparations. But you might also find that having down-time and being out of your routine makes it harder to pray. So try and make prayer a priority each day. Sit by your Christmas tree perhaps or your nativity scene and savor the light and drink in the season.
Small Group Outline
In addition to the daily prayer time, some folks might want to meet with friends or family for an in person or their own virtual group. Here is an outline to facilitate such a meeting.
- Opening Prayer
The leader opens the group with this prayer or with a prayer he or she has composed themselves. "Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of your son, Jesus Christ. We thank you for the blessings of this Christmas season: for family and friends, quiet times and busy times. We pray for a deeper sense of peace and joy in the birth of Jesus, and we pray that his light will shine in the dark corners of our hearts and our world. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."
- Group Check-In
Go around the room and share a burden and a blessing you experienced this past week. Where did you see Jesus, or who were you Jesus to this week?
- Suggested Discussion Questions
- If you meet early in the week, you can draw on some of the questions from week four, or turn to p. 143 and ask the group the questions found there.
- Where else did you see Jesus in your Christmas celebrations, outside of your prayer experience?
- Which scripture passage this week spoke to you most powerfully?
- How do the martyrdom of Stephen (December 26) and the Resurrection of Jesus(December 27) shed light on the true meaning of Christmas?
- We read basically the same reading twice, once for the Holy Innocents (December 28) and a second time for the Feast of the Holy Family (December 30). Compare and contrast these two prayer experiences.
- What are you doing personally or as a family to make the Octave of Christmas a special time?
- Group leader should not feel pressure to get every question answered. Allow people the space to say anything and to have an honest, fruitful discussion, while also being mindful of the time allotted. It is important to end the formal part of the Bible Study at the time agreed upon by the group.
- Close with a prayer. Ask the group what they would like prayers for. Then conclude by praying an Our Father together.