1. Isaiah said, “A virgin will bear a son and name him Emmanuel.” Where was Jesus’ birth in God’s plan? From the beginning of time? After Adam? If the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, was the plan from the beginning of time, what does that tell you about God?
2. God gave a sign to Ahaz, who hadn’t even asked for one. Does God give signs that aren’t requested? Give some examples. Do you think you ever miss any of God’s signs for you? Why?
1. Paul says the gospel is about God’s Son, descended from David. How can a human being from our history books be God’s own self? Is Jesus just a name in the history books?
2. Can the “grace of apostleship” be different for everyone? Could everyone be “called to be holy”? Name some ways that you can take Christ into your work, home, parish—today.
1. List the obstacles God encountered in bringing Jesus into the world. Is anything in this world obstacle-free? How can good come out of obstructions? John Shea made a statement about Joseph’s hesitancy to take Mary into his home. Discuss that statement: “This foreshadows the tension of all who will be drawn to Jesus. Is he a scandal to be rejected, or a manifestation of the Spirit to be welcomed?” (Shea, 45) “When Joseph awoke … ” Did Joseph wake up in more than one way?
2. Explain “Find God in all things” as it relates to Pope Francis’ General Audience Advent talk below.
And the reason for our hope is this: God is with us and God still trusts us! Think well on this: God is with us and God still trusts us. God the Father is generous. He comes to abide with humankind, he chooses earth as his dwelling place to remain with people and to be found where humans pass their days in joy or in sorrow. Therefore, earth is no longer only “a valley of tears”; rather, it is the place where God himself has pitched his tent, it is the meeting place of God with man, of God's solidarity with men.
… He is God-with-us. Jesus is God-with-us. … Jesus is God with us always and forever with us in history's suffering and sorrow.
General Audience with Pope Francis,
December 18, 2013
**From Saint Louis University