No matter what we are going through, we can celebrate the fact that God is Emmanuel—God with us.
Serve cookies and milk, hot chocolate with candy canes, or a fruit and veggie tray.
Discuss how each season of our lives strengthens, tests and grows our faith in God.
Scripture: Psalm 143:6, Psalm 63:1, Isaiah 7:14, Luke 2:10
If possible, meet in the chapel for the worship service.
Play the video “Wisemen Still Seek Him”
Wise women still seek after God. It is in our seeking, through an intentional and committed relationship with Jesus, that we truly come to know God our Father. As we explore three different seasons of life—longing/seeking, hope and joy—be thinking how you may want to share what God has done for you through these seasons of your life.
God is Emmanuel in the Season of Longing and Seeking
Devotional thought Psalm 143:6, Psalm 63:1
Have you ever gone crazy searching for something you just cannot seem to find? Maybe it is the perfect gift for someone, a poem of encouragement, or a song that provides comfort in a current situation. It is frustrating and nerve–wracking, yet God offers a solution to our seeking. His word teaches us, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).
When we intentionally turn our minds to God in whatever situation we are facing, His grace and peace are sufficient to cover us. Often we long for such things as better behaved children, a smaller waistline, or a cleaner house. Whatever those material longings might be, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes our longings may include a stronger relationship with our children, families, or spouse. We might desire to be a mother, or a grandmother, or to just feel like someone hears and sees us in a world that moves so fast. Earthly desires may cloud our real needs. We can lose sight of the Savior and His longing for us to be in a deeper relationship with Him.
We read in Psalm 143:6, “I thirst for You as parched land thirsts for rain.” And in Psalm 63:1, “O God, You are my God, I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole–body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water.”
It is no coincidence that longing and seeking often go hand in hand in the seasons of life. When we seek after the Lord, we will find Him waiting for us. In those moments when we long for Him, He is faithful to meet us. After all, He is our Father and loves us. He desires what is best for us. We will find it when we long and seek after Him.
Share in a short two or three sentence testimony regarding what you have longed for or sought after that the Lord has provided.
“Hope for Everyone” Matt Maher
Devotional thought Isaiah 7:14
God is Emmanuel in the Season of Hope
“The world waits for a miracle, the heart longs for a little bit of hope, O come, O come Emmanuel.” This song by Lauren Daigle is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Hope was born on Christmas day, a child was born, God in human form, a baby born to die. In a world covered in darkness and lacking the hope of something more, we as women of Christ are God’s hands and feet here on earth. We have the opportunity to share the hope of Christmas, the greatest love story ever written. The love story that began with a precious baby laid in a manger.
Isaiah 7:14 reads: “All right then, the Lord Himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a Son and will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Our hope is not found in the world, but in God’s promise that as believers we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him. Where is your hope found this Christmas season?
Share in two or three sentences about a time when God gave you hope in a dark situation.
Song#113/87 “Joy to the World”
Devotional thought Luke 2:10
God is Emmanuel in the Season of Joy
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’” (Luke 2:10).
Joy to the world, the Savior’s born! Hallelujah, and amen. Joy is both a feeling and a choice. Every day we must choose love; we must choose joy. In the season of longing and seeking, we can become hurt, lost and troubled. In those times of despair and fear we need to intentionally choose joy. By choosing joy, we let go of the worry, hurt, anger and frustration. We release whatever baggage is holding us down and speak words of affirmation, praise and thanksgiving about our Father in Heaven.
One of my favorite analogies is of the mountain top. On the mountain top you can see for miles and miles. On the mountain top we feel closer to God; we feel empowered and strengthened. But, look around the mountain top. You will notice very little greenery grows; very little is alive. But, when we look down into the valley, we see lush green plants and wildlife. While we labor in the valley, we can feel alone, lost, and even angry towards God. Yet, while in the valley, we grow. No growth happens on the mountain top. It is when we are in the valley, going through low seasons of life, that we are molded, shaped, refined and made pure. In the valley, we need to choose joy. When the way is dark and we see no end, choose joy.
Share in two to three sentences about a time God has helped you choose joy.
Choose to embrace the hope that was born on Christmas. A baby was born to save the souls of men. What will you choose this season? Will you allow God to be the God of the hills and valleys of your life? Will you choose to embrace Him in every season of life?
Song “Hills and Valley” Tauren Wells
Offer a time of reflection and closing prayer.