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The Hopes & Fears of All the Years: Advent 2022

What do you need to know about something in order to believe in it? Is it important that it is historical and factual? Does it need to be authentic and free of pretense? Should something bring about goodness and justice in the world? Does it need to be beautiful and inclusive? When it comes to believing in something – especially something as significant as Christmas – we all have a question that matters the most to us. And we’re not alone in asking it, either. This Advent, you are invited to join us as we consider how four significant questions have been engaged throughout the generations. In answering them, we will consider how Christmas addresses both our deepest fears and our greatest hopes!

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  • Advent is a season of waiting that precedes Christmas in the Church calendar. The weeks leading up to Jesus’ birth are a time for intentional reflection on how we need the light of Jesus in our lives and in our world. The four weeks and the four candles represent Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace. This season at Highrock, we will light Advent candles each Sunday during service. Families following along with the Kidsrock Advent Box will recognize some of the questions in this discussion guide as related to those in the Box. This overlap is intentional! We hope that the overlap will help our communities have some shared language and reflections this season. Online, follow @highrockonline for some ideas on how to have fun with friends and family leading up to Christmas. Looking for other ways to connect with community? Reach out to one of the pastors or join the 11:00am Sunday Zoom coffee hour to join other Highrockers who chat weekly about the sermon.

Resource Overview

This is a small group companion to Highrock’s Advent sermon series The Hopes and Fears of All the Years. It’s designed to be used with a small group, but it can also be used individually. Within the companion, you will find space each week for notes on the sermon and Scripture text, reflection questions, and prompts to discuss your reflections with others.

  • The general format (and time estimate) for each week is:

    • LISTEN: Link to the sermon (20 min)
    • REFLECT: Read Scripture and answer questions (15 min)
    • RELATE: Discuss questions with your small group in person or online (60 min)
    • PRAY: Use the provided prayer prompt to close your group meeting (open-ended)

    When considering the reflection questions, the goal is not to answer everything or have all the “right” answers―instead, let these questions serve as a starting point for curiosity in your conversation with God and others. See the Appendix of this guide for more resources and opportunities to engage with this study.

  • The prayer section includes a prompt to light an Advent candle. An advent wreath can be as simple as four candles or as creative as you would like. Searching google or will bring up many examples and tutorials.

  • Week 1: Is Christmas True? (Matthew 1:1-17)
    Week 2: Is Christmas Real? (Luke 2:8-14)
    Week 3: Is Christmas Beautiful? (John 1:1-14)
    Week 4: Is Christmas Good? (Luke 2:8-14)

    Note: Sermon schedule is subject to change at the discretion of the pastor.

  • We hope that all small group discussions are lively and enriching, but sometimes tough topics will be discussed. The Conversation Covenant* is an agreement to hold respect and grace toward all participants within a small group, no matter the conversation. Please adhere to the Conversation Covenant, or think about how to create one that fits your context.

    I pledge:

    • To act in good faith, with curiosity. I will assume the best about my conversation partners when entering into our groups. I will give the benefit of the doubt, recognizing that they may know something I don’t.
    • To show respect. I will show respect. I will be polite and give due regard for the feelings and traditions of others. I understand that I do not have to agree with someone to show them respect.
    • To speak the truth. I won’t use rhetorical tricks to try to win an argument. I will speak what I genuinely believe is the nuanced truth.
    • To aim to discover the truth. I will not enter into a conversation with the purpose of changing the mind of anyone to my way of thinking.
    • To focus on what we can change. I will focus on what we can do differently in the future since we cannot change what we did in the past.
    • To take responsibility for the conversation. I will take responsibility for the quality of the conversation and the abidance of the rules both in principle and in spirit.
    • To follow the covenant even when others fail to do so. I will abide by the rules regardless of whether another person breaks them.
    • To lighten up and approach the conversation in good humor. I recognize that humor is a hallmark of a constructive, generative conversation and take the conversation in good humor.

    *Adapted from Conversational Leadership.

Reflection Questions


Below are a few resources to look into if you are interested in diving deeper into some of the topics covered in this series. If you need resources that more specifically address your own experience, demographic, or faith journey, please reach out to a Highrock pastor or to and we will be happy to help!