THE WAITING ROOM
Have you ever felt like you’ve been waiting on God for a long time and things aren’t changing? Even in the most desperate situations and in the most hopeless seasons- God will always keep His promises.
Work through the following questions and scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning.
- How do you handle times of waiting in life? What are you currently waiting for and what is the experience like so far?
- Read Luke 2:1-22-35.
Make some observations about this passage (What does the text say?):
- What do you notice and what are you curious about?
Make some interpretations (What does the passage mean?)
- What do you learn about God?
- What do you learn about humanity?
Now make some applications (what’s my response?)
- How are you encouraged, challenged, or convicted by this passage?
- What should be our response to this passage?
3. Why do you think God waits so long to fulfill His promises?
4. How do you approach God in times of waiting? Do you look to Him solely for what He can do for you or for who He is? For His very presence? How has this affected your relationship with Him?
5. Even though we don’t know what it’s like to be eagerly waiting for the arrival of the Messiah, we are in a different place of waiting. We are waiting for His return when He will renew and restore all things to Himself and put an end to sin and death once and for all. Read Romans 8:19-25.
- How is waiting depicted in this passage? Who (and what) is waiting and for what are they waiting?
- We may not get the things or answers we may be looking for in this life, but we do have the promise that God is WITH us and there is surety in the future fulfillment of our waiting (and groaning) for redemption. How should this give us ultimate hope in our present circumstances?
6. As we saw with Simeon, waiting for God to fulfill His promises is not a passive thing, but an active one. He pursued the Lord so devoutly that He knew, by the Spirit, the right time to come to the temple. How are you actively seeking the Lord in your waiting? Do you spend time with Him? Are you constantly in prayer and walking in obedience with the Spirit? If not, what can you start doing today to seek Him more fully and walk with Him more closely?
Luke 2:1-22-35 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”, and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Romans 8:19-25 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Here’s a prayer of intercession based on the ancient Advent hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It was written by Rev Gilbert C Nisbet and posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website.
Instructions: Take turns reading a stanza. Leave a minute of silence in between each to allow space for individual intercession.
Prayer of the People: O Come, O Come Emmanuel
“O come, o come, Emmanuel!”
Come to our world with its cruelty and hatred;
its division and distrust;
its greed and its selfishness.
Come with your gentleness, to ease the pain of enmity.
Come with Your forgiveness, to dispel dissension and restore harmony.
Come with Your humility, to cure the error of pride and self-centredness.
Come with Your peace to transform the world into Your Kingdom.
“O come, o come, thou Lord of might!”
Come to those who act violently and quell their anger.
Come to those who oppress the weak and establish kindness.
Come to those who revel in their powerfulness
and remind them of the power of love.
Come with Your grace to establish Your Kingdom in the hearts of all.
“O come, thou Rod of Jesse!”
Come to our nation and bless us with peace and prosperity.
Come to the lost and the least and the lonely in our land
and let them know that they are valued and loved by you.
Come to those who have lost any sense of their worth
and surround them with your love.
Come to the homeless, the forsaken,
the poor in spirit and the disturbed in mind
bringing your peace.
“O come, thou Key of David!”
Come to the Church and show it how to serve you as you wish to be served.
Come to local congregations and enable them to reach out to the unchurched
with the hope which they need.
Come to the national church and bind it in unity to its Lord and Master.
Come and make Your Gospel a living reality here, in our time and place.
“O come, thou Dayspring!”
Come to the sick and the suffering with the balm of your healing.
Come to the guilty and the grieving with the offer of your forgiveness and hope.
Come to the distressed and the dying with the promise of your peace.
Come to all who are in need,
for You are sufficient for every need.
TAKE A NEXT STEP
- Journal your prayers of waiting. Be honest with God about your longings and desires.
- Listen to this rendition of O Come O Come Emmanuel by Phil Wickham and let it lead you into prayer and longing for Christ to return and restore all things: O Come, O Come Emanuel-Phil Wickham
- For a deeper dive into the significance of Jesus as Emmanuel, listen to this sermon by Dr. Tim Mackie: https://bibleproject.com/podcast/god-us-matthew-p2/
FOR THE PARENTS
Hey, families! Here’s a look at what we’re covering with your kids so you can help them continue to grow at home during the week.
All month long we are going to be talking about how the story of Jesus’ birth and how we can make room for Jesus this Christmas season!
THE BIBLE: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:9)
THE MESSAGE: In what ways have you made Christmas more about the presents than about Jesus? We all love gifts! And we should all love giving gifts as well. But choosing to make Jesus the main thing at Christmas time is really what the season is about. How will you choose to make room in your heart for Jesus this Christmas and every day after that? And how could your life look and be lived differently knowing that you chose to follow Him?
THE BIG IDEA: I will make room in my heart for Jesus!
Because sometimes you and your kid need a conversation-starter that isn’t,
“So . . . how was church?”
- How do you think the story could have been completely different if the shepherds didn’t choose to except the invite from God?
- How willing are you to be used by God in whatever way he sees fit?
One thing we learn is that God loves all people, no matter what kind of status they may have in the world. The angel announced that Jesus would be a savior for all people, not just important, powerful people. God told the shepherds about His Son Jesus and invited them to be a part of the story. The shepherds were so surprised but they didn’t hesitate to make room for their Savior’s arrival!
Next week, we will see how a group of wise men left everything to find the new born King!