Before the Session
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Place a “Christ Candle” on a table int eh middle of your meeting area and have some means of lighting it.
- Set up sufficient chairs for the group, arranged in a circle or other configuration that promotes a sense of community, preferably with the Christ Candle in the middle.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session. (Share the link via email or social media).
Read aloud Titus 3:4-7 then play the Bible Background Video.
In today’s session, the group will share in an Ignatian “Prayer of Examen” to explore the past year of their lives in light of Christmas day.
Tell the group: One of the common prayers of the Ignatian tradition is the “Prayer of Examen”. This prayer is most often prayed at the conclusion of the day and consists of two questions, voiced in many different ways: “For what moment today am I most grateful and for what moment today am I least grateful?” “What was today’s high point and what was today’s low point?” “When did I feel most alive today and when did I feel life draining out of me?”
We are going to share a ‘Christmas Examen’ today centered on a phrase recorded in Titus 3:5, “…according to His mercy…” One of the greatest gifts of the season, in fact our lives, is God’s mercy.
Invite a volunteer to light the “candle of Christ’s presence,” then have someone read today’s scripture again. When they reach the phrase “…according to His mercy…,” have them say that phrase three times slowly.
After the text has been read, invite volunteers to share one way in which they have received God’s mercy in the past year. (You may want to remind the group to avoid crosstalk, asking questions, or responding with ‘fixing’ language, but rather to simply listen as stories are shared and then hold them in confidential, quiet prayer.) After everyone has shared an experienced mercy, ask the group to share when they have felt deprived of mercy in the past year. (If someone is hesitant to share a ‘deprived moment,’ an alternative question could be, “when have you shared mercy with someone who needed it this year?”)
After the group has shared, invite them to hold what they have heard in silent prayer from one to five minutes, as time allows, then voice a prayer as a benediction, extinguish the candle, and share Christmastide greetings with each other.
Writer: Jim Dant