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 (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: Tomorrow, we will celebrate communion together as a Church family as part of this Christmas series. It is a double blessing, combining two of the most beautiful elements in the daily narrative of our lives. Communion is a reminder of what Joseph sensed in his dream that night, that this little child Mary was to have would come to save everyone from their sins. It is the reminder that we will one day celebrate this meal with Jesus Himself in the earth made new, when sin will be vanquished once and for all—forever.
Matthew does not let go of this ever-present truth and will draw examples from it fifteen times throughout his Gospel. He will show us that Jesus taught the substitutionary atonement (Matthew 26:28). He will show that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He will show that the law we struggled with from the first testament has been misunderstood, and that grace exists to enable you to follow Jesus. That grace dos not draw you into a vegetative state, but energizes you to action. When Joseph woke, he did what was right. He took action. Grace and obedience go hand in hand. That is why Paul points out in Romans 3 that grace does not diminish the call to do the right thing; it calls us to the space to press on.
Communion tomorrow is our reminder that we need Jesus. It is our chance together to confess that we need to reset our clocks with Jesus. It is a time for peace and goodwill. It is the joy of Christmas. What child is this? The one and only Jesus.
Recalibrate: What area of your life, do you need Jesus to help you the most?
Respond: Pray for the strength to accept the help Jesus is sending you.
Research: Read one of the recommended commentaries on this passage.
Live Wonder (ages 0–3)
Names hold so much importance. Take a moment to look up what your child’s name means and share that with them. Talk to them about the name of Jesus (Immanuel) means “God with us” and how Jesus is with us always.
Live Adventure (ages 4–11)
Ask your child, “Do you know how you got your name?” Take some time to tell them why you chose that name for them and if there is any special story behind it. Jesus’ name was an important one. It means God with us. How can you remember that Jesus is with you always today?
Live Purpose (ages 12–16)
We are told the name Immanuel means “God with us.” How does that change your day when you remember that God is with you? What would be different about your day if you saw Jesus next to you in class, in the car, at the dinner table?