Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media)
Context (From the Current Session Page)
Ask the group to think about how they picture the scene of Jesus’ birth. How do they usually picture each character, Mary, Joseph, the Innkeeper? What expressions are on their faces, and what is the setting? Why is this the image they have for this biblical scene?
Share this story about how “Doctors of the World” shared its collection of Christmas cards, “which paint a more sombre picture than the usual nativity and festive scenes, spending some time to focus on the images in the article. Ask:
- When you see scenes like these, what do you imagine Joseph and Mary might be feeling?
- What fears seem to be present in these scenes?
- In what ways is Joseph experiencing risk in his role in this story?
Content (From the Mind Session Page)
Read Matthew 1:18-25, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Then ask questions like these:
- How would you respond to someone today if they came to you and said they were pregnant with God’s child?
- What feelings and thoughts might Joseph have experienced when he heard that his fiancée was pregnant “from the Holy Spirit?”
- In those times if a woman was found to be pregnant outside of marriage, she could be stoned to death. How does this shed light on Joseph’s actions and what does this say about his character?
- Joseph was obedient according to verse 24, but we don’t know anything about his feelings. In what ways do you think this announcement changed his feelings about the situation?
- Given that he had so many options in this situation, what did Joseph’s obedience cost him and why do you think he remained faithful anyway?
- Despite being a “background” character, why is Joseph essential to Jesus’ birth, safety, and growing up?
- Jesus’ arrival was not a spur-of-the-moment idea, a sudden occurrence. In what ways does this passage show us what God is doing to prepare the way for Jesus to come?
- Luke’s well-known story of the birth of Jesus is many verses long. Matthew’s is only a portion of verse 25. What would Matthew have us focus on, rather than the fanfare and miraculous events of Jesus’ birth?
Closure (from the Media Session page)
Play the Joseph video and ask:
- What are some times when we should live our lives showing the same humility and courage that Joseph showed?
- What are the challenges facing you when you show divine love to the world around you?
- Why do you think God chose you to be the person you are?
- In what ways can the power of God’s loving-kindness motivate you in your faith journey this season?
- Which lives might you most be able to improve by showing the kindness and love that Joseph showed to his family?
Close in prayer.