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This is a tool for you to use if you lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or small group. It is keyed to the Bible texts used in the current week’s Adult SS lesson and includes a brief story from current news you can use to introduce the discussion and then a series of discussion questions in a relational pattern designed to build fellowship and spiritual reflection.
For use: January 24 – 30
Texts: Isaiah 9:1-5; Isaiah 9:6, 7; Isaiah 9:8-10:34; Isaiah 11; Isaiah 12:1-6
We live in a world where people clamor for peace, peace in our nations, peace in our communities, peace in our homes. It might be any change, such as a new year or the change of seasons, but with newness we long for peace that has eluded us in the past. New experiences come with new expectations.
Each comes with hope.
Each comes with promise.
Each comes with a possibility of peace.
Hoping for a year that exceeds the previous, humankind looks ahead with dreams. Think about headlines for every New Year. The birth of the first baby is front page news, and heralds expectation for something different than the previous year has brought. A baby born just a few minutes past midnight in a new year is celebrated as the harbinger of hopefulness. Can a few minutes into a new day make such a significant difference?
Residents of Visalia seem to think so. The Sun-Gazette, serving Visalia and surrounding communities in Central California, rejoiced when nine babies were born in a 12-hour period. The tagline, “A bundle of New Year’s babies brings hope for 2021,” echoes the sentiment. Elizabeth Gonzales, whose son, Eric, was the first born of those nine New Year’s babies, said, “He is our new beginning. 2020 was rough on everybody, but it was rough on us, too. 2021 started off pretty good, so let’s just hope we keep going that way.”
This week, as we continue studying Isaiah, we encounter the birth of a baby, the Prince of Peace, a baby coming with promise and hope to an unjust and dark world. Isaiah 9:6 tells us this child, this son, will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” There is a difference in the hope and promise that comes with this Child. The difference is certainty, peace, and justice that will reign forever; an eternity with salvation, exultation, proclamation, and praise to God.
We read the descriptions of scenes that, while seemingly impossible in a dark world, are assured in the kingdom of God. The Child we study today provides the way for us to experience that eternity. Yes, there is hope, and this time it is absolute. With this Child comes salvation for all who accept.
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Connecting: Think about a time you were expecting a change or a new experience. How did that hope impact how you approached the situation?
Sharing: Read Isaiah 12:1-6, where the prophet describes the praise that will come from God’s children. How does that praise fit into the life of God’s children on a day-to-day basis, even now?
- God provides comfort and I praise God
- God is my salvation so I rejoice
- God calms my fears and I can trust even when I am afraid
- God has done marvelous things and I can share those wonders with others
- I choose to shout and sing God’s praises
Applying: While many are still meeting in social distancing situations, think of someone who may be entering 2021 with a sense of loss rather than the promise of hope. Make contact through text, email, a phone call, or a note letting them know you are thinking about them and remembering them in prayer.
Valuing: Read Isaiah 12:1-6, making note of the phrases that speak to your heart. Thank God for the promises that bring you peace in the promise of eternity.
~ Joy Veverka