We’ve all seen the nativity with perfectly positioned characters, well-behaved animals, and a holy glow surrounding it all. We see everyone in the scene as if they are one big happy family celebrating the first, and probably the only, perfect Christmas. Contrast this perfect picture with our own lives, our own families and holiday drama, and we may feel the Christmas story looks nothing like our own. But what if you able to pull back the curtain and see past the picture-perfect silent night? When we look closely, we find that the REAL Christmas story, the uncut, behind-the-scenes version looks more like our own than we would have ever imagined. And the same God who scripted these imperfect characters into His story is calling to join him there as well.
Session One: Messy
Bottom Line: God has a part even for people who are falling a part.
Have you ever looked at a crowd of people and wondered where you fit? Most of us have. For many of us, this feeling is especially noticeable at Christmastime. In the busyness of family plans and the frenzy of crowded malls, we find ourselves a little lost, wondering if we even matter. In this way, not much has changed since the first Christmas. A dirty group of shepherds with a poor reputation were the last group anyone would have expected to play a key role in God’s story. And they remind us that no matter how insignificant we feel, no matter how much we think we know who God will or won’t use, we all have a part to play.
Session Two: Awkward
Bottom Line: Don’t let your feelings drive your faith.
Why does it seem people get so crazy around the holidays. Whether their fighting with their family or fighting for the best bargain, emotions seem to run a little higher this time of year. And when emotions are involved, everything is more complicated. Joseph was a young man with some big decisions. With a pregnant fiancé and his reputation on the line, there were a ton of emotions and no clear answer. For Joseph to move forward with God, he had to move past his emotions. In his story we find that choosing God’s direction over how we feel can be the most important decision we ever make.