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Welcome to Because of Bethlehem Week One!

Welcome to Because of Bethlehem Week One!

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. — John 1:14 MSG

The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s

Welcome OBS friends, new and old, and season’s greetings! We are delighted to be starting with you this December the Because of Bethlehem study with pastor, author, and Bible teacher Max Lucado!

Is Advent a tradition you grew up with or is it new to you? How have you celebrated it in the past? What are you doing differently this year?

We sense that many of you are longing for something different to happen this Christmas, something exciting and new, something that burns like a candle and shines for the world to see! And yet for others, this Christmas may be harder because of loss and hardship from the last two years. It’s certainly taken a toll.

Can I encourage you with one thing? Take a little extra time with God asking Him to show you that He is present in spite of, and might even be more palpable out of, your circumstances, chaos, and hardships. May we see the face of God even unexpectedly and rejoice that the King has come!

In spite of, and out of, Mary’s chaos and hardships, Christ came. The season leading up to the first Christmas wasn’t what she hoped for, but it was a miracle in the making. At the most unexpected time and place, Mary saw the face of God. — Max

We can’t wait to hear what a difference this study makes in your life in this season!

So gather your friends and neighbors, light a fire, prepare some cocoa, and let’s have a wonderful time together studying God’s Word and Jesus’ journey into this world. Let’s get started with Because of Bethlehem!

Prayer for Session One

God, thank You that You came as a Baby King in the most surprising way at the most surprising time. We need Advent this year, particularly. We need to see Your face in the middle of chaotic and challenging times when our souls are tired of the worldly rush and rage and unrest. Help us to see You, focus on Your astonishing incarnation into a messy world, and celebrate You. Ignite our wonder and awe! We love you. Amen.

How ready am I for the arrival of the King?

Because God became human, we can see and know God in the person of Jesus. We can also rely on the fact that God knows us. He understands how we feel because he has faced what we face, including weakness, testing, and suffering. — Max


1. Remember: this is a go-at-your-own-pace study so you can watch session one anytime! If you’re following the schedule, watch the video, Session 1: God Has a Face between now and next Friday 12/10. All of the videos are on our OBS home page, so bookmark this page and come back often.

2. If you’re meeting with a small group or in a church setting with others, go through the group discussion and questions for Session 1 in your Because of Bethlehem Study Guide (pages 9-21). You can also answer these on your own!

3. For your individual activity for this session, see page 22 and set aside some time for your Advent Practice and Advent Reflection. This may be my favorite part of the entire study guide so be sure to look at this right away!

Photo Challenge

Are you going through Because of Bethlehem on your own or with a group? Take a photo and tag it #BecauseofBethlehem on social media. We want to see Because of Bethlehem amidst your Christmas décor, crazy lights, nativities on the front lawn, burnt sugar cookies, and more!

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Let’s Chat

Let’s talk about our opening questions: Is Advent a tradition you grew up with or is it new to you? How have you celebrated it in the past? What are you doing differently this year (besides participating in this study, of course)? Share your comments here or in the Facebook group! We’d love to hear from you!