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 New International Version (NIV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: I can see quite easily why within some Christian tribes, people want to pay special honor to Mary. Even though not a lot is said about her, you have to admit that she must have been someone special for God to have chosen her for this role. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if she had said no? If she had said, "Nope, not interested in taking that on . . . go ahead and choose option B." Remember, there are lots of examples in the Bible that she would been familiar with, stories in which people haggled with God about the call He had laid on their lives. Some who chose to take entirely different paths. Some who rejected His wisdom. Some who were not sure if they were qualified for such arduous tasks. She risked a great deal. Shame. The likelihood of being stoned to death. Isolation. Mockery.
We know very little about what Jesus' early years were like. We have a couple of snapshots and then suddenly . . . He is an adult. My personal belief is that people were not generally as vain as we are now. It has only been in the last 200 years that the concept of autobiography has really taken off. So unless it was common practice for children to have someone following them around and writing down everything they did, it is not a surprise that nothing was written about Jesus’ early years. That being said, you can draw some inferences from His ministry that provide insights into how hard His childhood would have been. You can also imagine how hard it would have been for His mother, Mary, to care for Him. To keep all the things she knew close to her heart. The resurrection morning would have been so much more than the restoration of her child. It would have also been a vindication of the call on her life. It would have been the affirmation that this child who did not need to “grasp at equality with God” (Philippians 2:6-8) was in fact God. The Savior of the world. Her Savior. Our Savior. That is Jesus.
Recalibrate: What does Jesus being your Savior mean to you this Christmas?
Respond: Pray a prayer for thanks for salvation.
Research: Read Philippians 2 for its full context.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Mary took such good care of Jesus. What are some of the ways your mom and/or dad take care of you? What are some of the ways that Jesus takes care of you? Of your family? Of our world?
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
What is the hardest thing someone has ever asked you to do? Why was it so difficult? Do you ever feel like following Jesus can be hard at times?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
Mary sacrificed so much when she was called to carry and give birth to Jesus—especially her reputation. How do you feel following Jesus effects your reputation? Is it a good way? A bad way? Why?