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Have you ever wondered what might have happened if you had said “no” in a crucial moment? ‘What if?’ are two words that often roll around in our heads long after a decision is made. What if those connected to the Christmas story had made different decisions? This Advent we will consider what might have been as we walk through the accounts of Jesus birth. We will consider the power and goodness that is unleashed when faithful people offer their best “yes.”
December 2 | What if Zechariah Believed?-Luke 1:5-20
It is hard to get into the Christmas spirit if the celebration is reduced to party planning and gift buying. The key is to understand what God did at Christmas. But hectic schedules are not the only thing to get in the way. There are our lingering doubts. There was a man in the Bible, named Zechariah, who asked, “How can I be sure of this?” Doubt makes even the best Christmas preparations feel meaningless or inauthentic. It is easy to be cynical instead of hopeful. What would happen if we would believe the promises of Christmas?
December 9 | What if Mary Said “No!”-Luke 1:26-38
Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the epitome of faithfulness in the Christmas story. With little information and no plan, she takes on the task of bearing a child. Most of us have some no along with our yes to God. What is the opportunity cost of our no for our lives and for the kingdom of God? What is the yes God is asking people to consider as they prepare for Christmas?
December 16 | What If Joseph Chose Anger?-Matthew 1:18-24
It is easy to get angry when people disappoint us, hurt us or when life takes an unexpected turn. Joseph could have disregarded the angel’s message, assumed the worst and immersed himself in a pool of anger. Joseph’s no would have had tremendous consequences for Mary and Jesus. What can we learn about the fruits of controlling our anger and trusting God, and how do we do it?
December 23 | What if Elizabeth Became Jealous?-Luke 1:39-45
Jealousy rears its head in the worst ways. Elizabeth spent her whole married life trying to become pregnant only to have her cousin appear pregnant out of wedlock. Rather than becoming jealous, her faith enabled her to understand the power of God in both of their lives and to celebrate. How can we surrender old jealousies and celebrate what God is doing, or hope god will do, in the lives of others?
December 24 | What If the Shepherds Stayed in the Field?-Luke 2:1-24
Many are longing for a positive change in their lives. The Shepherd's lives changed when they heard a message about the birth of Jesus and went and saw it for themselves. What happens when you experience Christ, and then tell others about what you discovered?
December 30 | What If Herod Had His Way?-Matthew 2:1-12
The terror and violence of the world is a sharp contrast to the gentle story of God’s love at Christmas. Herod wanted to stop what God was doing in the world, just as evil wants to stop the work of Christ today. Herod was not able to kill the Christ child, but that did not protect the innocents who suffered the effect of his maniacal command. How does the coming of Christ address suffering in the world, and why does this suffering continue so many centuries since Christ first appeared?