Before the Session
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media).
Context (From the Mind Session Page)
Begin by asking:
- Why is the Christmas season often a difficult time for many people?
- What is it about this season in particular that is so bitter and sweet?
- Think of our culture’s advertisements, TV shows, movies and music around Christmas. How do you think our culture does at openly acknowledging both emotional sides? Why do you think we don’t do it more, or at other times of the year?
- What would you say is the difference between “happiness” and “joy”? Where do we find each one, and how do we “get” it?
Content (From the Current Session Page)
Read Psalm 126, and watch the Bible Background Video.
Ask your group:
- What do you think it means to be “like those who dream” in the context of this passage?
- What is the modern equivalent to “sowing in tears” or “reaping in joy?”
- At what points in our modern spiritual life might this Song of Ascents become an expression of what we are experiencing?
- How do you feel about Nikki’s statement that, “Advent is not interested in pretending like things are okay when they are not. In fact, Advent acknowledges that things are bad.”?
- At what point is acknowledging the bad a critical point of faith, and how can that translate to people who are struggling to build a faith of their own?
Closure (From the Media Session Page)
Play the Unexpected Joy video and continue by asking:
- How do we balance waiting with hope and the holiday happiness that we see attempted around us?
- What kinds of things do we do to demonstrate the ultimate source of joy in our lives?
- Where, specifically, can people find joy through the Advent season?
- At what points might God show you places where you can bring unexpected joy to others this year?
Close in prayer.