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 Message. Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: We are not that far away from the start of a new year, which is always full of high hopes and expectations. For some, it means that all those things they have put off for far too long are now a reality. Most of us hope that we will rise up with vigor and strength and defeat any problem that might threaten us. This is much like the way Samson from the 1st Testament reacted every time Delilah woke him with the words, “The Philistines are upon you.” Sadly, he was not quite ready for the outcome during the last round. Many people decide to read the Bible in one year, but determine to start only on January 1—as if that date contained all the strength we might need to take us through the entire Bible. If we were to start to read the whole Bible today, we seem to think, we would simply fail.
The problem is that I have heard so many people tell me about how they started reading the Bible on January 1 with the aim to read the whole thing in a year—and simply failed. Failed, because they skipped parts or just could not get through the famous “genealogies.” We often miss the beauty of the stories hidden within these "boring parts." They contain rich layers of meaning, but these take time and effort to uncover. Take the first seven generations listed in Genesis, starting with Adam. As you read, you discover two distinct spiritual groups. Two distinct genealogies. They both came from Adam, through Cain and Seth, and they both stop at generation seven. On one side you have Lamech, who took two wives, described in decorative terms, and on the other side you have Enoch, “who walked with God and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).
The Gospel writer Matthew does the very same thing with his genealogy introduction in chapter 1. He is writing for a Jewish audience, proving that the Jesus they have known is the promised Messiah. That is why it is necessary to show that Joseph was indeed from the line of David, as the Messiah was promised to rise from that line.
Recalibrate: What family heritage can you claim or will you pass on?
Respond: Share a prayer of thanks that you belong to God’s family.
Research: Read Galatians 4. What does Paul teach about adoption?
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Talk about some of the different emotions: happy, sad, mad, scared, and how we all experience these emotions at some point. Ask your child how the angel helped Joseph when he was scared.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
What does it mean to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? How do you think Joseph felt when he found out Mary was going to have a baby? Is it important to think about how others might feel?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
If you were in Joseph’s shoes, how do you think you would have reacted at Mary's news that she was pregnant? What does Jospeh’s reaction tell you about his character?