December 17, 2023

Assigned Scripture

Micah 5:2-5

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
    whose origins are in the distant past,
    will come from you on my behalf.
The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
    until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
    will return from exile to their own land.
And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
    for he will be highly honored around the world.
    And he will be the source of peace.

When the Assyrians invade our land
    and break through our defenses,
we will appoint seven rulers to watch over us,
    eight princes to lead us.

Luke 2:1-5

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Group Response

Following the weekly gathering, you’re invited to respond to the service by engaging in group discussion.

Discussion Questions


One great surprise about God revealed in Jesus at the incarnation is God’s vulnerability.  God is not confined to safe or polished spaces. Instead, he enters our mess. He shows up in “places God isn’t supposed to be,” exposing himself and entering our realities, messy as they might be. To this end, we don’t have to leave our own vulnerable states or situations to find God. He meets us there. He joins the struggle with us, making himself vulnerable right alongside us. 
  • What lists in your life are you most attached to? (If any?)


  • We talked today about the two genealogies: Matthew’s (which emphasizes Jesus’ royal line), and Luke’s (which emphasizes Jesus’ ancestors who were servants, activists, those who looked after the poor). Which of those two types of roles most resonates with you as you see the work of Jesus?


  • The angels’ sign to the shepherds (swaddling clothes) was so small and simple – but powerfully communicated to the shepherds that they were going to meet the Messiah – what do you imagine God was trying to teach us by allowing the first witnesses to be “untrustworthy,” “unclean,” out of the way people? 


  • When has God’s work felt smaller or more subtle than you expected? 
  • Who has shown you by example what it means to live your ordinary life in the family of God? 


  • Whose list are you called to be on? (Who is God calling you to be a loving example for, and how might you do that this week?)