1. Several of the stories feature an encounter with or visit from a stranger, first an annoyance, later a reminder of the Christ child and the meaning of Christmas. In the midst of our rushing around for Advent and Christmas, are there people you encounter as an annoyance? Might they also represent the Christ child? Does our behavior towards others change during this season?
2. Three of the stories (In the Desert, A Highway; Guests; My Name is Joseph) are set in times and places of state-sponsored violence and fear toward the people, who still hold fast to their faith. Who are the people in our communities who have experienced or are experiencing violence by the state? What meaning might Christmas hold in the face of this fear and persecution?
3. The author’s stories involve characters facing great material need, while others face needs of community and relationships. What types of wealth do you and your family have to share with those in the community facing needs of food, shelter, or community? How might this sharing extend beyond the Advent and Christmas seasons?
4. What are the stories you share in your household about Advent and Christmas? What stories, beyond the Biblical narratives, illuminate meaning and remind you and your family about the true meaning of the season?