Do Not Be Afraid - December 20, 2020

Bible Study “Do Not Be Afraid”

Share:  Your highs (something that made you happy) and lows (something that made you sad) this week with others around you or write them down.

Light Candles for Advent

Jesus is the light of the world and we light Advent candles to signify this. It’s also a way to build anticipation for the celebration of the first coming of Jesus. Beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and each Sunday leading up to Christmas Day, families light a candle and conduct a themed advent reading.

The closer one gets to Christmas, the more the candles get lit, and the brighter it shines. Advent moves us through the prophecies about Christ, to the hope he provides, to the joy he brings, and the love he gives. As we move through each week, the wreath glows brightly with significance. Let's look at the different advent candle colors and their beautiful meaning and symbolism.

The First Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Hope

The first Sunday of Advent leads our hearts to Hope. The purple color symbolizes royalty, repentance, and fasting. This week is a time for us to reflect on what it must have been like to feel the depth of God’s silence during the period between the Old Testament and New.

It is a time to ponder the prophecies about the promised Messiah. We begin the season with a mindset that creates hope in our hearts.

The Second Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Preparation

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the Hope candle and then we light the Preparation candle/Peace. First, hope blooms as we realize the prophecies about the Messiah are true. Then we begin to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord Jesus.

Imagine how Joseph must have rushed to prepare the crude stable for Mary and the soon-to-be-born Jesus. As we rush through the season of buying gifts and attending parties, may we pause and reflect on the words of Isaiah.

The Third Sunday of Advent’s Pink Candle Signifies Joy

The third Sunday of Advent brings us to Joy. The color pink represents rejoicing/Joy. We light the previous two purple candles and then light this week’s pink one. Rejoicing is our response to the Good News — joy that our Messiah has come.

The light of the world sweeps away the darkness in our world and in our hearts. We seek him and, in joy, find him.

The Fourth Sunday of Advent’s Purple Candle Signifies Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we reach the culmination of Love. The Messiah comes in love and righteousness. The angels filled the sky with the greatest news of love.

They visited the lowest of the lows in Jewish society, the shepherds, with the most amazing birth announcement. This love is no respecter of persons but is for all who receive. As we light the four candles, we ponder,

Why Some Add a Fifth White Candle

A fifth candle is an optional addition to the traditional advent celebration and represents Christ. This candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The color white stands for purity, light, and victory.

Jesus is pure — without sin and because of his sacrifice he makes us white as snow. He is the light in the darkness and the victor over sin and death. We have life because of him.

 

Today we continue our Advent journey. Advent is a time when we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus at Christmas. During Advent, we reflect on the hope, peace, joy, and Love that come with the birth of Christ. We prepare ourselves for the coming of the light that will help bring God’s kingdom to earth.

Light the first (Hope), second (Peace), third (Joy) and Love candles on your Advent wreath.

 

Opening Prayer: Thank you, God, for people who help keep us aware of your coming into the world. Thank you for the friends of Jesus, John the Baptist, the Pharisees, and each one of us here today. We need each other to help keep awake and alert to your presence among us. Amen.

 Questions:

Have you ever been afraid? If so, what were you afraid of?

How did you get through that situation?  Did you pray?

Can you think of anything that is impossible? 

 

A message, directly from God, sent by an angel! No wonder the angel had to begin with "Do not be afraid." And for whom is this message? A very young girl, engaged but not yet married. The message: "You are to bear a child, the Son of the Most High." The angel makes a compelling case, the young girl chooses to risk accepting, and God is choosing to come among us as a human being – the word made flesh.

Please open your Bibles to Luke 1:26-38 and read or read the scriptures below. 

Luke 1: 26-38  

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

 Reflection Questions:

  • If someone asked you to describe an angel, what would you say?
  • Would "scary" be part of your description?
  • What did the angel say to Mary, when he noticed that she was pretty scared of him? (Luke 30)
  • What other things did the angel say to make Mary feel more confident about saying yes to his strange announcement to her? (Luke 36)

PRACTICAL POINTS

  • God knows all about the details of our lives (Luke 1:26—28).
  • Unexpected trials help us grow spiritually as we trust God (v. 29).
  • When God’s chooses to reveal His perfect decisions for us, we are encouraged to trust Him (vs. 30—33).
  • Totally depending on God as we follow Him shows we love Him (v. 34).
  • The Holy Spirit guides, encourages, and inspires us as we serve God (vs. 35—37).
  • When we submit to God’s will, we serve Him acceptably (v. 38).

 

Click her for the young learner’s lesson

 

Videos (Click on the words or url)

The Gospel – Luke 1:26-38 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IO_XE2k86k

The angel visited Mary Luke 1:26-38 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHZkNdSQ3Q

Overview: Luke 1-9 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIb_dCIxzr0

 

Activities

Bible Quiz

Word Search: https://thewordsearch.com/puzzle/1762099/do-not-be-afraid/

Activity A - Nothing is Impossible – It’s Physically Impossible to…
The following tasks are considered (near) impossible for humans to complete. Try out these ‘simple’ tests to see if you can succeed.

  • Twitch your nose (without moving the rest of your face)
  • Lick your elbow
  • Rotate your right leg in a clockwise motion, while drawing a ‘6’ in the air with you right hand
  • Wiggle your ears
  • Place your palm on a flat surface with your middle finger curled underneath, then raise (only) your ring finger

 

Activity B – Nothing is Impossible – God’s Way Mural
Draw scenes showing some impossible things that God made possible. Examples:

  • Elizabeth and Mary getting pregnant
  • The parting of the Red Sea
  • Manna falling from heaven
  • A whale swallowing Jonah
  • Jesus coming back from the dead

 

Activity C - Christmas ideas to reach out to those in your community.
Some ideas:

  • Give a gift to a child in need.
  • Volunteer at the Table.
  • Help an older neighbor or friend by cleaning their sidewalks from snow, carrying groceries or other help they may need.
  • Send a card to someone that is lonely.
  • Bake Christmas cookies for a neighbor or friend

 

Prayer: Thank you for the season of Christmas that so very soon will begin. Help us to keep awake to notice the fun we are having and the fun we may be able to make happen for someone else. Amen.