Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Matthew 1:18–25 (NRSV)
Reflect & Discuss
- Put yourself in the shoes of Mary and Joseph—young, poor, engaged, and ordinary in almost every way. How would wild news like this interrupt your life and plans?
- What does it say about God that he chooses not only to use people like Mary and Joseph but to come to us himself through them? What does God reveal about himself by how he “arrives on the scene” of human history?
- Is this how you expect God to work today? What does it even look like for God to work like this today?
- What does this name given to Jesus—“God with us”—mean in your daily life (as you wake up, go to work, interact with others, do laundry, pursue hobbies, eat meals etc.)? How does God becoming one of us change all your daily activities?
- for every aspect of our ordinary life to be blessed by the presence of God
- for Christmas to mark the start of a new awareness of God’s presence in our life throughout the coming year
- for any and all requests we have to share