There are four sets of readings for the Christmas celebrations. The four gospels of the lectionary are given here.
- Have you ever known anyone who was adopted or orphaned and did not know anything about either of their parents? What do you think it would be like if you did not know anything about your biological family?
- How often have you heard one of your relatives say that you remind them of someone in your family?
- If Jesus had had been born of Mary, but with physical appearance of a person from another part of the world, what kind of a response do you think he might have received?
- Joseph is told that Jesus comes to save people from their sins. Will you celebrate Christmas with people who have forgiven you for some of your sins? Will the lack of forgiveness keep you from celebrating with anyone?
- Both Joseph and Mary play significant roles in Gods plan to be God with us. What struggles do you think they have been dealing with in preparation for the birth of Jesus? Do their roles shed light on how God might be trying to present in your life, in your family, or in the world?
- Do you know what was going on in the world when you were born? Did your parents and grandparents pass this kind of information on to you? What kind of information do you know about your familys situation when you were born? What you know about your birth might indicate the type of things that were important to your family.
- What are the things that are important to Luke about the birth of Jesus? Why are these things told us and not others?
- The Birth of Jesus seems to impact the heavens, but not the town of Bethlehem. Why? Where will this celebration have the greatest impact, where the least? Where in your life, your family, your church?
- When you read this passage what is it that strikes you? What is God saying to you about the kind of relationship God desires to have with you? Where do you need to focus to be attentive to the action of God?
- How do you picture the scenes described here? How might the ways that this scene is depicted hinder a real appreciation of the way God chose to act in our world and even in our lives?
- What kind of people do your think shepherds were? The shepherds were told of the birth of Jesus and decided to go to Bethlehem to see what had taken place. Why was it not enough for them to just hear about the birth of Jesus? What do you think they saw in Bethlehem that would have compelled these ordinary shepherds to make known everything about the child Jesus?
- Who were the people in your life who told you of God's goodness? How did they do that? What impact did it have on you?
- How have you acted on what you were told? Do you know people who have been told something but not taken the next step?
- Where, in your life, do you encounter the goodness of God? How do you respond to this encounter? Do you ever tell others about it? Why or why not? What happens to you if you tell someone? What happens to you if you do not?
- Do you ever long to be so filled with Gods presence that you cannot help but tell others?
- Mary kept all these things and reflected on them in her heart. What does that suggest to you about her prayer? How is that part of your own prayer life?
- Do you ever feel like the darkness is more powerful the light of Gods presence in the world or in the lives of people around you? How do you respond to those feelings?
- Do you know people who posses a deep knowledge of the scriptures but whose lives seem to be untouched by the Word of God?
- Can you recall a time when the Word of God influenced something you did? How?
- Do you feel like you are Gods child?
- Do you think that God desire that everyone know that God loves them as Gods own child?
- If you believe God loves you and desires that everyone knows God's love for them, would it follow that God desires you to strive to live in honest, harmonious relationships with others? Are there times when you sense Gods desire for you to live in this way? How do you feel at those times? How do you respond?
- What prayer is on your heart and you reflect on this text?
(Comments to Paul at email@example.com.)
Paul Gallagher, OFM
Young Adult Ministry - Spiritual Direction
St. Peter Chruch
110 West Madison
Chicago, IL 60602