The Point: The birth of Jesus was no mere circumstance. It was planned by God.
Get Into the Study
Use the following article and discussion to introduce the session.
A recent Discover magazine article, “The Science Behind Coincidence,” suggests that often, coincidence is simply our human minds looking for ways to “create order out of chaos.” The author writes, “Coincidences are ‘an inevitable consequence of the mind searching for causal structure in reality.’” Our minds want to see the purpose in everyday occurrences, even if sometimes, there is no purpose.
However, this article leaves out the most important factor in the Christian life: the hand of God at work. Yes, some events in life are merely statistically probable events. But God is always at work in our lives, bringing people together in surprising ways, and placing us in situations for His glory. We can live each day expecting to be surprised by God’s love and plans for us. And the greatest display of that love was Jesus’ coming to earth—it was a well-planned rescue mission. God knew exactly what would happen when He sent His Son to live amongst His creation. In fact, Isaiah prophesied the coming Messiah 700 years before Christ’s coming.
Ashley Emmert is a freelance writer and full-time mama from Chicago, where she lives with her husband and her new baby boy. You can find her on Twitter at @ashgemmert, or failing to update her blog at ashleygraceemmert.blogspot.com.
Get Into the Study [Additional Option]
Use the following optional activity as you begin the Get Into the Study section.
In advance, either purchase or print baby announcement cards. The outside of the card should say, “It’s a boy!” The inside of the card should have the verse Isaiah 7:14 printed on it. Put the cards in small envelopes. As group members arrive, give each member a card and direct him or her to open it.
Click here for printable announcement cards [when folded, these cards will fit into standard #10 envelopes]. Its-a-BOY
This idea supports the teaching plan found in the Adult Leader Guide.
Study the Bible
Use the following article and discussion as you conclude your study of the Isaiah 9:6-7 section.
As estimated 113 million people voted in the 2018 midterm election. That’s 30 million more people than cast ballots in 2014. This midterm election was the first in U.S. history to exceed 100 million votes, with 49 percent of eligible voters participating, the highest overall participation rate for a midterm election in fifty years. When many of those around us are putting their hope in politics, our engagement in this political climate should be informed by the truths found in Scripture.
Invite your group to consider how the description of Christ given in Isaiah 9:6-7 and 11:1-5 impacts your attitude toward politics.
Ask: How can our attitudes and actions reflect the truths of these verses when engaging in politics?
Nikki Wilbanks has a background in commercial real estate appraisal and investment, but is thrilled to be a stay-at-home mom, writer, and Bible study teacher, currently. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she studied literature. She lives with her husband and two children in Murfreesboro, TN.
Live It Out [Additional Option]
Use the following optional activity as you begin the Live It Out section to wrap up today’s session.
In advance, print different traffic signs and post them in your meeting space so they are visible to everyone. Ask: “What would driving be like if we didn’t have signs?” Allow time for responses. Then, explain that God gave a clear sign to Israel in Isaiah’s prophecies to guide them to the coming Messiah. God’s message of hope was aslso meant for us: Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God.
Click here for printable traffic signs.
This idea supports the teaching plan found in the Daily Discipleship Guide.
- Would most people describe you as a planner or an “off the cuff” kind of person? Explain.
- How have the ways you’ve planned for Christmas changed over the years?
- What was the most surprising Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
- Why was the virgin birth so important?
- How does Jesus’ incarnation affect our understanding of God?
- How have you experienced God being with you this week?
- How do you understand this child’s mission as described in these verses?
- How does the truth that the government will be on the Messiah’s shoulders encourage or challenge you?
- How have you seen the peace of God in your life??
- How will the Messiah be able to fulfill His rich and difficult mission?
- How can you make Jesus known this Christmas to those who don’t know the true story of His coming?
- What are some practical steps we can take during this Christmas season to remember and celebrate Jesus Christ being sent to us?
Send the following link to your group members as either a teaser before the group meets or as a follow-up thought:
Here’s a brief video giving you an overview of this session: The Full Picture of Christmas, Session 1.