The holidays are meant to be a time of family, fun, and celebration of the greatest gift given to us. In a manger, 2,000 years ago, a teenager and her husband were obedient to God’s call on their life. We decorate the tree and nostalgia takes us to happy times of the days of old. We share stories over hot chocolate and reminisce of loved ones who have passed on. We prepare large meals with family and loved ones, exchange gifts and our hearts are filled with all the joy this season has to offer.
But often the holidays become a time of enduring family, surviving shopping and trying to find gifts for people we don’t hardly know. Not to mention, juggling schedule to make sure we are at all the right places at all the right time so no one is upset with us, if that is even possible. In a time meant for joy, many people struggle with depression, loneliness trying to grapple with the stresses of this time of the year.
In this series, we will be taking a look at three Christmas movies and one not so Christmas movie. The goal is to help us see again the joy of the season. Too help us to find joy and purpose because of Christ and restore the reason to celebrate beyond our circumstances.
SESSION 1: HOME ALONE
Sometimes what we think we want and what we really want or need are two separate things. Kevin has become very frustrated with his family and wishes they would all just go away. Thinking his wish come trues brings him happiness for a moment but he soon discovers he is alone. Many are lonely during this season even when surrounded by loved ones. But Christ came from his home so that we would never have to be alone again. As we pursue him we soon discover that we are never alone and he satisfies our every need.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
GOAL FOR THIS SESSION
In this session, we discover that God never intended for us to be "Home Alone". He took an active roll in becoming a human and leaving His home. As we pursue the presence of Christ and authentic community with others, we never have to be alone again.
1. Christ left His home so we wouldn’t have to be home alone.
Christ left heaven to be born on earth. He lived a sinless life. He died a sacrificial death. He rose again because He didn’t want us to experience loneliness. He did it because of His love, and because we matter to Him. Our iniquities, our sins, our moral failures, our foul-ups have separated us from God. God is holy. He is pure. He is infallible. We are fallible. We are sin-ridden. Our sinfulness has caused this cosmic chasm between God and ourselves. It is our loneliness that leads us to a personal relationship with the Lord.
“Our iniquities have separated us from God and our sins have hidden our face from Him.”
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield.
2. We have to constantly pursue the presence of Christ.
We have to practice and pursue the presence of Christ, because loneliness can never be filled by anything or anyone other than Christ. The companionship of Christ is what separates Christianity from all the other world religions. We can express our deepest longings to Christ. Sometimes we know intellectually that we are to constantly pursue the presence of Christ but in reality we don’t. We think that other relationships will satisfy. The Bible says that the companionship of Christ is available to anyone.
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Christ is called Emmanuel which means God with us.
3. We have to seek and cultivate authentic community with others.
“It is not good, Adam, for you to be alone.”
Our loneliness mattered so much to God that He took the initiative. Every time we seek out a relationship or cultivate authentic community, we are simply reflecting that we are made in the image of a relational God.
If we don’t connect with people, we begin to fall into the pit of self-pity, whose running buddy’s named bitterness. Bitterness leads to anger. We get angry at God and angry at the church, because we don’t really have community with others. community is knowing and being known. It is loving and being loved. Down deep we desire community, but we really don’t want it on the surface, because of fear. As a result of you reaching out to you become a blessing to others.
Remember, we are never alone in Christ and are called to bring in the lonely. There’s no better Christmas gift we can give.
To many in your group this is a lonely time of the year. As you walk through this discussion time, remind them of the consistent companionship of Christ. Encourage them as well that as a Life Group that you are too be available and on the ready to for each other in any situation.
Session 1: HOME ALONE
Review your notes from Sunday. Due to copyright regulations, we will not post these sermons online.
Use the questions provided in each session to facilitate your group’s discussion and application of each topic.
* Have you ever been unintentionally left as a child or accidentally left your child somewhere?
* Every family has a Kevin who makes trouble and grief for the rest of the family. Do you ever stop to wonder what’s going on with them that causes them to be that way? Are they frustrated, do they feel neglected? Have you ever tried to find out why?
Read Luke 22:42
* We sometimes forget that when Jesus came to earth He to felt the pressures of life. Why didn’t God answer Jesus prayer and remove the stress? (Jesus had to fulfill the purpose for His life.)
* Why does God sometime not remove our pressure? (God is working on His purpose in us and others may gain from our time of pressure.)
Read Psalms 18:2
* Being a follower of Christ does not exempt us from hardship. How does this verse give us peace and security even in uncertainty?
* How does Jesus ending his prayer with “not my will but yours be done” empower us in times of struggle?
Read Isaiah 59:2
* With out the sacrifice of Christ where would be be in our relationship with God?
Read 2 Corinthians 5:21
* On the cross Jesus experienced true loneliness when God turned his back on our sin that was laid on Jesus.
* He is God and we are just stupid humans. Why would God even care?
KEY POINT 1: Christ left His home so we wouldn’t have to be home alone.
* What are some things that people pursue to fill the gap of loneliness left by sin?
Read Hebrews 13:5
* How does knowing Christ is committed to his relationship with us drive us to pursue him?
* What is the very distinctive difference between Christianity and other religions of the world?
* How does our constant pursuit for the presence of Christ make our other relationships better?
Key Point 2: We Have Got to Constantly Pursue the Presence of Christ.
Read Genesis 2:18
* One of the Core Values of the Fountains is “You Can’t do Life Alone”.
* It is easy or hard to commit to others? Explain your answer.
* What are the benefits of these relationships?
* What do you believe is the consequences of not being involved with other believers in authentic community?
KEY POINT 3: We Have to Seek and Cultivate Authentic Community with Others.
Help your Group identify and take their next steps with Jesus. Pray with them and for them. Ask them about their next steps later this week.
Are you a 100% sure there you will spend eternity?
Today may be the day you need to take your first step by giving your heart to Jesus. He has been pursuing you.
Are you a believer that has quit pursing the relationship with Christ? Your next Step is to make the effort to fall in love with Him again. Pursue him through His word and prayer and growing in your understanding of his love for you.
Are you alone? As a believer today you may need to embrace the fact that Jesus has never left you and is there for you . Your Next Step maybe to embrace him share your heart with him let Him be part of your life and help you build healthy relationships with others.
Are you currently involved in an authentic community? Are there other believers that you allow to help you in your time of weakness and celebrate with you in your times of strength? Are you investing in others and helping them carry their load and celebrating with them? Your Next Step may be to pursue authentic relationships with other believers.
Pray for your group to have a deep understanding of God’s love for them and that they know Jesus is always there for them. Pray for those who are struggling with loneliness that they might find the joy of walking in a relationship with Christ and find authentic community. Pray that everyone in your group will have the courage to be open and honest with each other and grow together in authentic community.