Refresh: Open with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Matthew 2:1-12 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: When you read the Gospel stories, a great exercise is to ask yourself is what was not shared in great detail. What do you think is missing from the story? Why do you think it was left out or only mentioned briefly? For instance, in this story of the birth of Jesus, we were introduced in last week's study to the shepherds. This week, we meet Herod and the wise men . . . but there is only a slight mention of the Jewish leaders. While they were cut from a similar cloth to Herod, they were distinctly different in several important ways. Herod was not from royal lineage, not was he truly even Jewish. He had to marry into the family to be accepted. The priests and scribes were from the right families. As a result, they were rather smug. Matthew records that they were troubled—but not troubled enough to react positively or negatively. They were rather indifferent. They were so busy with everything else that they just decided to ignore the issue. The same question that Jeremiah asked could be asked again of these leaders: “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? (Lamentations 1:12)
Do you think that could be possible in your own life? It was in one of very first homiletic classes that the late Ron Surridge encouraged us, as freshmen, to write down as many life experiences as we could and start to catalogue them. Several of us scoffed at the futility of that exercise. Why would we ever do that? Our memories were so sharp. There was nothing we ever forgot. Our minds were rich tapestries of stories interwoven with examples of the blessings of Jesus. Oh, how I regret the foolishness of my youth as my grey cells are finding it harder and harder to recall all those incredible memories of life. We miss out on too many moments, because we are indifferent or complacent. If we had the wisdom (and hindsight) to take note of the miraculous moments that Jesus gives us, how much more valuable would our lives be?
Recalibrate: What single life moment has shaped your faith journey with Jesus the most so far?
Respond: Pray for more moments that you can capture with Jesus each day.
Research: Read your favorite story in the Bible that inspired your faith when you were a child.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
The Gospels are constantly pointing us back to the writings of the prophets concerning the birth, life, and death of Jesus. What are some “old” stories you can share with your child that are still important and relevant today? Ask your child if they will share a story with you about something they remember from a long time ago.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Learning new things about history can be so much fun! What do you think "history" means? History is a word we use to talk about things of the past. The Bible will sometimes point back in history to a word called prophecy. Prophecy is like history but backwards. Prophecy points to the future. History and prophecy work together to point to Jesus. What are some ways you can work with someone else to point to Jesus today?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
The past shapes all of us in some way, shape, or form. What are three big moments in your life that have shaped who you are today? Would you change any of those things? What do you think is something you are going through now that is going to shape you for the better in the future?