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 28:1-10 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I know what you're thinking: Did someone put the wrong Biblical reference in the Daily Walk today? Just exactly why are we reading a passage at the end of the Gospel of Matthew during the Christmas series? Surely this has to do with Easter or some other message. I would have to agree with you. The typical storyline at Christmas always draws our attention to the passages at the beginning of the Gospels. We normally sing hymns numbered 115 to 143 (in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal). We expect to hear stories of the nativity; everything relating to the little baby Jesus and His birth. To be fair, there is nothing wrong with that at all. As I explained in the introduction to this series, the Christmas story actually brings me incredible joy. I love everything about this season. Yet part of the beauty of this story is the breakthrough of the unexpected in the midst of the everyday normal. Think about that for a moment. What part of the story, what part of what child is this, strikes you as pretty much everyday matter-of-fact ordinary? God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit—the Trinity—concocted the plan of salvation before they even created humanity. They knew the end from the beginning. They saw the future and all possible paths. They wanted the universe to grow and expand. They demonstrated that for love to exist, it requires other beings to love and to be loved by in return. So far, does any of this seem ordinary? Not at all right? It is entirely unexpected. The Trinity decided on a timeline of human experience that would allow us to process life and to grow. This timeline allows us to grasp the potential and implications of freedom of choice. They decided that all of them were going to have to suffer together to pull the entire universe through this dark chapter. They decided that the separation would be devastating, but that the victory would be overwhelmingly sweet and make it all worthwhile. One of them would suppress His divinity and take on humanity, to live, breathe, and finally die as one of us. But even that grave would be conquered! That is the unexpected miracle of the baby that Mary was holding in her arms, wrapped in swaddling cloths, one Christmas long ago. What child is this? Jesus!
Recalibrate: What is the most surprising thing in the story of salvation for you?
Respond: Pray a prayer of thanks for the gift of salvation.
Research: Read John 3 in light of the gift of salvation and the power of the Holy Spirt.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
It can be important to step back and see the big picture of life. Matthew shows us the bigger picture at the end of his gospel by showing us the full circle of Jesus’ life—birth to resurrection. Can you envision your baby's whole life right now? Think of the kind of person they will grow up to be. Ask them what they would like to be when they grow up and why?
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
In Matthew’s gospel, he wrote about Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection! What is your favorite part of Jesus’ story? If someone were to write a book about your life, what would be the most exciting chapter?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
Do you need to gain some perspective today? By reading about the resurrection, you’re doing just that. Hearing about baby Jesus is exciting, but there was also a lot of time and waiting before Jesus started His ministry and before He overcame the grave. What is something you wish you could see the “end goal” of?