The Christmas Bracelet
Study Guide for Small Groups
This small group study consists of five lessons. Members should read the designated chapters prior to the discussion. Please make as many copies as you need; please do not sell this study without the author’s consent.
WEEK ONE: CHAPTERS 1-8
- What are Kathryn’s favorite Christmas traditions? How did these traditions change?
- What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Have they changed over time? If so, how?
- Why is Kathryn beholden to the Hansen family?
- Have you ever been beholden to an individual, family, or institution? Explain.
- Describe how grief affects Kathryn physically and emotionally.
- Have you experienced grief? How did it affect you physically or emotionally?
WEEK 2: CHAPTERS 9-16
- Compare and contrast Kathryn’s and John’s childhoods.
- With whom can you best identify? In what ways?
- What is the most amazing gift that you have ever received? Who gave it to you? Why is it special?
- No two snowflakes are alike. Why is this scientific fact vitally important to Kathryn?
- Discuss a time in your life or specific situation in which you struggled with your identity.
- Discuss Kathryn’s refusal to have her mother help with the twins.
- Has pride ever prevented you from making sound judgments? If so, when?
- Discuss the significances of the following gifts:
- Christmas bracelet from John
- the jewelry box from William
- the boiled peanuts from Judge Clarke
- the Charleston goodie box from Kathryn’s mother.
WEEK 3: CHAPTERS 17-23
- Explain how Harper’s, Jack’s, Timothy’s, and Kathryn’s Christmas tree recommendations match their personalities (page 94-95).
- In your opinion, what is the perfect Christmas tree? Why?
- Site examples of Kathryn’s need to maintain control.
- Do you thrive in a structured or unstructured environment? Give examples.
- Do you agree with John’s statement that the most beautiful tree in the world is the one that bends (page 103)?
- Can you think of a time when bending was difficult for you? Can you think of a time when your willingness to bend solved a tough problem? Can you think of a time when bending was not an option?
- Kathryn experienced an incredible sense of failure after her miscarriage (page 121). Were these feeling warranted? What does her reaction tell us about Kathryn?
- In what way can you relate to her sense of failure?
- Describe Willy Bear. How does Kathryn use the bear to explain both Rose’s disabilities to the children? How does she use the bear to explain Rose’s worth?
- Have you ever felt like a Willy Bear?
WEEK 4: CHAPTERS 24-33
- These chapters contain tremendous loss for Kathryn and her family. How does Kathryn respond to the losses?
- If you were in Kathryn’s position, what would your response have been?
- Explain the significance of the English garden to Kathryn.
- Describe a time of new beginnings in your life.
- How does William’s death heap ashes upon Kathryn’s head?
- What was your response to William’s death?
- Discuss John’s “stone in the pond” analogy (pages 68-170).
- How do you respond to change?
- Is Kathryn’s response to the news of John’s cancer consistent with your view of her character? Explain the role of their family and friends during John’s illness.
- Has there been a time when your family and friends were the buoyancies, which kept you afloat? Explain.
WEEK 5: CHAPTERS 34-40
- How does the beach scene (chapter 34) mark a turning point for Kathryn?
- Have you ever been angry with God? Is the thought of forgiving Him a preposterous idea?
- What was the last charm that John gave her?
- If you were the author of The Christmas Bracelet, what charm would you have chosen as the last charm?
- Brian’s sermon on Christmas Ever was deeply personal for Kathryn. Describe her reaction.
- Did any part of Brian’s sermon speak to your heart?
- Reread Brian’s conversation with Kathryn on the steps of her front porch. Why does Kathryn have trouble receiving God’s love?
- Have you ever struggled to believe that God loves you?
- In what ways did this dream speak to you?
- What does God mean when He says, “It is not about who you are; it is about Who I Am.”
- In what way does this statement bring us freedom?
- Compare and contrast Kathryn’s character at the beginning of the story with her character at the end of this story?
- Discuss the meanings of the following parts of Kathryn’s dream (chapter 39):
- Brambles separating Kathryn from John, his parents, and Rose
- Willy Bear in a coffin
- Crown in the manger