luke 1 & matthew 1
Angels Speak to Mary and Joseph – Luke 1:26-56 & Matthew 1:18-24
In these Christmas story passages, we find patterns for how God works in our lives.
1 – God never asks Mary or Joseph if they are willing to take part in His plan. He simply tells them what will soon happen; their choice is to either join His plan obediently and gladly or to sulk, worry and rebel. Beautifully, Mary and Joseph submit to God’s plan in spite of the personal pain they would both endure; Mary said she was blessed to do so. What about us? Are we submitting to God’s plan gladly and obediently in spite of any personal pain God’s plan might bring? Do we trust God to work good in the midst of our hardship?
2- God works independently in Joseph and Mary’s lives to reveal His plan for them. God does the same today. We can usually see only part of the picture, but we can be sure that God is working on multiple fronts. At the proper time, we will understand His plan. Until then, we must trust, obey and walk in obedience.
3 – Joseph determined to act righteously in the way he responded to Mary’s news about being pregnant. His first decision to quietly divorce Mary wasn’t what God ultimately wanted him to do, but God used his righteous response for good. What if Joseph had responded with vengeance and had immediately stoned Mary as the law said he could? His righteous response paved the way for God to further reveal His plan. The same is true for us. We may not know exactly how we ought to respond to our situation, but if we determine to respond in wisdom and righteousness, we can be sure that God will ultimately direct our steps. When in doubt, do what is right; do what is wise; do what is good, and listen closely for God’s further instructions.
4 – God provided encouragement for Mary when she most needed it in the form of her cousin Elizabeth, who confirmed that Mary was indeed carrying the Messiah. How many times has God provided encouragement for you through the words or actions of someone else? Whom might God be calling you to encourage right now with your words or actions?
Craft – Make an angel ornament – As kids make angels, discuss:
- • Did the angels ask Mary and Joseph if they wanted to have a part in God’s plan? No, the angel told Mary what would happen and told Joseph what to do.
- • How did Mary and Joseph respond to the angel’s messages? Mary received the angel’s news joyfully. Joseph obeyed immediately.
- • How do you think the story would have been different if Mary and Joseph had responded differently? Let kids imagine as they answer. Have some of your own ideas ready to share if kids need help thinking outside the box..
- • If an angel had come to you earlier this year and had told you that covid was coming, how do you think you would have responded? Could you have responded like Mary did?
- • What were good things about the news the angels told Mary and Joseph? They were going to be Jesus’ parents. They got to marry each other.
- • Was there anything bad or hard about the news the angels told Mary and Joseph? People wouldn’t understand that this was God’s Son. People might not believe Mary and Joseph. Mary and Joseph were going to flee for their lives from Herod. They would have to experience hard things when Jesus got older.
- • How do you think Mary and Joseph were able to respond joyfully and obediently even though hard things were coming? Maybe they didn’t know how hard things would be, but they probably trusted God so much that they focused on Him instead of on their circumstances.
- • What about you? Do you think God has good plans for you? Do you trust God even when things in your life are hard?
What did you like about this story?
What didn’t you like?
What did you learn about God/Jesus?
- • God has had a plan for our salvation all along, and He will always bring His plans to pass.
- • God asks people He loves to do really hard things sometimes.
- • God tells us what we need to know when we need to know it, but He usually doesn’t tell us the whole plan at once.
- • God prepares different people to carry out His plan at the same time.
What did you learn about people?
- • People are blessed when they joyfully and immediately accept God’s plan.
- • People prove that they trust God when they obey immediately.
What did you learn about yourself?
- • I want to accept God’s plan for my life even when it is hard.
- • I want to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
- • I want to obey God immediately when He tells me something.