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. Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: As I shared yesterday, Matthew was very intentional about how he wanted to start his Gospel. When you compare the other three gospels, they all have a different purpose and open with a different highlight. Mark wanted to show the end of Israel’s exile through all the promises from the first testament. Luke takes us to the temple and helps the Gentiles see that the Gospel is for them too. John is like a second Genesis—rich with deep theology embedded all through the text. Matthew sees this baby as man and God together. Jesus came to be with us. This is why he referred to him as "Immanuel" which means “God with us.” This is like a deep scarlet thread that has been interwoven through every single book in the Bible. The plan of salvation has always been to restore us to the place where we once were. A place where we once walked in the garden with Jesus in the cool of the evening. This is the reason for Jesus’ promise as recorded by Matthew at the end of his Gospel—the promise that He will be with us always.
The call laid on the life of Joseph was deeply entwined in belonging to a family. It required Joseph to effectively “adopt” Jesus into his family. This is a very powerful metaphor that the apostle Paul (Romans 8 & 9, Ephesians 1, and Galatians 4) would draw on his understanding of the first testament mingled with the practices of the day in Rome. In adoption, a son was able to receive the full privileges of being a son—not based on his rights but based on the parents' rights. This is a beautiful reminder of salvation—that we are saved because of Jesus and not because of us. The most amazing reminder this Christmas is of what Jesus has done and will do for us always—make us family.
Recalibrate: Who do you need to make more space for in your life?
Respond: Pray for the strength to see where you need help.
Research: In what other great passage did Paul talk about reconciliation?
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Following God isn’t always the easiest, but it is always the best way! Pray with your child that they are given courage in following God for the rest of their lives. Ask them what does it look like to not be afraid to follow God.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
What are you most afraid of? Why? The angel told Joseph to not be scared to take Mary as his wife. Sometimes big decisions can be scary. Pray that Jesus helps you not be afraid of making the right decisions today.
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
The angel told Joseph, “Do not fear to take Mary as your wife.” What do you need to not fear this week? Pray to God asking him for peace and courage.