The Good News of Christmas is easy to recognize…and it can change your life.
The Discussion Starter:
The Christmas Scale
This is a really neat clip that uses the famous Christmas song Joy to the World
to teach the Good News of Christmas.
In a clip narrated by voice actor Willie Minor (who sounds a lot like Morgan Freeman), we learn that the Good News of Christmas that changed a young man’s life is none other than the first line from the hymn Joy to the World
, “Joy to the World, The Lord is Come!” But this clip drives home this wonderful news in a really unforgettable way. It uses a piano and a simple scale to embed the truth in our hearts.
If there is any way your group could sing the actual song after showing the clip, it’s particularly powerful.
The video can be found at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNDtHdG5mVk
The world has joy…only because the Lord has come! Think about it! That’s the Good News that the guy in the video was talking about. At Christmas, we celebrate the coming of Jesus who changed everything about who we are. Granted, there are lots of distractions that try to take our focus off of Jesus during this season, but ultimately, the Good News of Christmas – Jesus – is easy to recognize, and He can change our lives if we let Him. Let’s spend the next few moments looking at the Bible passage that inspired that ancient song, and reflect on how the joy of Jesus can change our Christmas this year.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our all-time favorite Christmas carol.
- ASK A FEW: Does anyone in our group play a musical instrument? If so, which one(s)?
- ASK A FEW: According to this video, what was the Good News of Christmas? (Leader – The Good News was that the world had joy because the Lord had come!)
- ASK A FEW: In the clip, the narrator said he wasn’t interested in finding out about the Good News his mother was talking about at the piano, so he got up and walked out. Most people in the world today share the narrator’s attitude when it comes to searching for the Good News in Christmas. Why is that?
- ASK A FEW: When did the narrator finally discover the Good News his mother had been talking about?
- ASK A FEW: Christmastime is the season in which we remember that Jesus has come to our world, the world He created. Why is that such a big deal?
- ASK A FEW: When you look at the world in which we live, do you think it’s easy to see that joy, or is it hard to see that joy? Why?
- ASK A FEW: The Good News is that joy has come to our world because Jesus has come to our world. How can that joy that Jesus brings change our lives?
Read the following passage:
NOTE: It may surprise you to discover that Isaac Watts, the writer of the famous song Joy to the World, didn’t base his song off of the stories of Jesus’ birth in the New Testament. Instead, he chose a passage from the Old Testament Book of Psalms that is actually a reference to Jesus’ Second Coming. Yep, that means Joy to the World could actually be sung in July! Tell your students that you’re going to read the passage that Isaac Watts was studying when he wrote his now-famous hymn.
ASK A FEW: Verse 2 says that the LORD has made His salvation known. How has He done that? What evidence do we have of that?
ASK A FEW: How does the writer of this psalm tell us that nature should respond to Jesus’ coming?
ASK A FEW: According to verse 9, what is the purpose the LORD has in coming to the earth?
ASK A FEW: How did Jesus bring joy to the world when He came the first time, at Christmas?
ASK A FEW: How will Jesus bring joy to the world when He returns again, as He has promised?
ASK A FEW: In the clip, the narrator said he hadn’t been all that interested in the Good News his mother was talking about. How important is that Good News to you?
ASK A FEW: What would your life look like – and what would your Christmas look like this year – if you had more joy?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What can you do right away to embrace the Good News of Christmas?
Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. 2 The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. 3 He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; 5 make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, 6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn-- shout for joy before the LORD, the King. 7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8 Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; 9 let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.
The Good News of Christmas is that the world has joy because the Lord Jesus has come! If Jesus hadn’t come, there would be no reason to have joy. But because He has come, the world has reason to be joyous. Even better, the world will shout for joy when He returns again real soon.
As unfortunate as it may be, though, that Good News often gets buried this time of year. True joy is often left by the wayside for the latest and greatest gadget. Jesus is exchanged for Santa Clause. We allow ourselves to get sidetracked from what is really important.
Fortunately, when we hear that Good News, we immediately recognize it! Just like the narrator from the video, we recognize that Good News and understand its power to change our lives. That’s because the Good News of Jesus is impossible to overcome.
So let me ask you about your Christmas so far. Are you focused on joy or junk? Are you seeking ways to be joyful…or just happy. Are you exchanging the Good News of Jesus for some other kind of news?
If so, I invite you to reflect on this reality for a moment: Christmas is a time set apart for us to remember that Jesus has come into the world to totally change it. If we give Him the opportunity to do so, He will completely change our lives.
Let’s circle up in small groups and close our time in prayer. Let’s ask God to open our eyes to the joy He wants to bring us through Jesus this Christmas season. As we group together, let’s take a moment to pray for ourselves and the person on our left. Let’s ask God to give us the joy that Jesus comes to offer us…the life changing joy of His Good News.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith