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 1:19-25 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: As you read the text for the first time this week, what insights and questions did you have? As I mentioned a few weeks ago in a sermon, when you approach a text, it often helps to simply allow yourself a moment to read it with fresh eyes. It also helps to read it out aloud, using interpretive voices for the various characters.
Here are my initial thoughts as I read the text this time. Joseph is a just man; he is called the son of David, he is a thinker, he does not rush his decisions, he is in communion with God, he obeys God, and he is the one who has the privilege to bestow the name upon the baby and call him Jesus. Yet this same Joseph, who does not want cause any shame for Mary, plans to divorce her. I can’t help but wonder how he imagines that divorce will not bring any shame to her within the cultural context of their time. Still, Joseph will make a deep moral and ethical choice. He will choose to hear the voice of God speak to him through the night, causing him to realize that perhaps Mary is right. This was the miracle they had all been waiting for. He finally chose to believe Mary’s story, that the pregnancy is from God and that he, Joseph, was also chosen to be the parent of Jesus. This was the prophecy from the great Isaiah of old, that Jesus was going to be born of a virgin, cited in Matthew 1:24.
Recalibrate: What truth have you needed time to process before you could accept it?
Respond: Pray for the heart to hear the voice of God.
Research: Watch this rendition of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by La Sierra University.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
God works in ways different than we are used to. In this story, baby Jesus is put in Mary’s tummy by the Holy Spirit. Not every family is the same, but God still puts people in our lives and our kids' lives, like He did with Joseph. Talk to your child about the people God has put in their lives who love them.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Draw a picture of Mary and Joseph. It takes a mommy and a daddy to have a baby, but in this story, the Holy Spirit put baby Jesus in Mary’s tummy! Now add the Holy Spirit to your family photo of Mary and Joseph.
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
Can you imagine how Joseph felt when he found out Mary was pregnant? What was the last shocking or strange thing that has happened in your life?