Think About It!
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her she would give birth to the Messiah, the news was both wonderful…and terrifying. Mary would have been publicly shamed and humiliated and probably disowned by a lot of people in her community. So what did she do? She jumped right into humble service on behalf of someone else. Crazy, right? If we follow her example, we just might find a joy we never could have dreamed of on our own.
Talk About It!
1. Be committed to humble service
- Have you ever been given a special job? How did you feel? Mary had the job of being Jesus’s mom. That’s a pretty special job. If you got a job that special from an angel, it would be easy to start feeling pretty good about yourself, but Mary was humble. Instead of getting puffed up, she went to help her cousin, Elizabeth, and learn from her.
- Has God given you a special job in your life right now? If God has given you a special job right now, look around. Who can you serve? Who can you learn from? When we start serving and learning, God will help us to know when we are in the right place.
- How can you do your job well and still stay humble? Jesus was humble too, and we are supposed to follow his example. Even though he is God, he came as a baby to a poor family. He did all of that so that he could be with us. That’s what Immanuel means: God with us.
2. The presence of Jesus brings joy
- What is joy? When you live your life with Jesus, no matter what is going on, you can experience joy. Jesus himself is joy. Joy is not something that we need to hype up from what’s going on around us. It is something available to us at any time, if we got to Jesus.
- Why does being with Jesus bring people joy? When Mary showed up, Elizabeth knew that Jesus was in the room, and when she recognized that, the Spirit of God leapt inside her for joy. She could recognize the work of God because she was in tune with his Spirit. The joy of the Lord poured out of her.
- How can we spend more time with Jesus? When you and I are in tune with the Spirit of God, we see the world through his eye. The things that excite the Spirit of God excite us. The things that break his heart break our heart. The words that he would say come out of our mouth. The only result of a closeness like that is joy.
3. Praise God for His fulfillment
- Have you ever had to hang on and wait for God? Both Elizabeth and Mary praise God before they see him do what he said he would do, because they trust him. Sometimes, when we don’t expect God to do what he said would do, we give up before God does what he wants to do because we think it’s too impossible.
- Is there a situation in your life right now where you have to hang on and wait for God? If we want to see God do what he said he would do, we need to keep showing up. We won’t get a lot of attention for doing that. That’s not a flashy calling, but that is what we see in the men and women of the Bible.
- How have you seen God answer prayers in the past? God loves to tell his people what he’s going to do before he does it. That means that when we see him do what he said he would do, we know that it is him at work! In the meantime, we trust God and we wait patiently for him.
Optional Follow-up Questions:
- What makes you say that?
- What makes you say that?
- How does that make you feel?
- How would you explain this to someone who doesn’t know Jesus?
- Why do you think God did it that way?
- Why should we do the things that God tells us?