A Story for All Time
The living qualities of the participants in the story of Jesus' birth made them witnesses of a heralded birth -- one that changed the course of history and still leads humanity to a better life today.
While there are many Christmas tales about reindeer and elves and missing teeth, there is one story that is not to be missed. Of course your family knows the characters in this familiar gospel story: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the three wise men, King Herod, shepherds and sheep, and all those angels. But how could these possibly connect with life today? Exploring answers to this question is your assignment for this busy month. And it's an easy one.
With the help of the Bible, you can point out how the living qualities of the participants in this exciting story made them witnesses of a heralded birth -- one that changed the course of history and still leads humanity to a better life today. All you need is a King James Bible and a time each week for the family to join together -- this could be a mealtime, bedtime, or even when traveling in the car. Since there are four full weeks this month, this project is organized into four brief get-togethers. For each meeting, there will be some verses to read, some God-inspired qualities to consider, and ideas for discussion.
- Read Luke 1: 26-33 and Matthew 1: 19-23.
- Ask what qualities Joseph and Mary needed. Consider his trust and comfort of her on the arduous journey to Bethlehem and her innocence and acceptance of God's plan for her.
- Discuss how these same qualities are useful in family life. Do we trust each other to be honest? Do we help and comfort one another? Are we innocent of lying, cheating, anger or other sins? Do we accept the premise that good thinking and acting results in a life of blessings?
- Read: Matthew 2: 1-12
- Ask what qualities the wise men (also called kings, astronomers, or Magi) showed by making their long journey. Intellectual curiosity? Love of adventure? And, what qualities did King Herod show? Curiosity because Jesus might be a competitor to his rule? Do you think his statement about his plan to go and worship Jesus was honest?
- Discuss how these qualities affect relationships. How and why does one accumulate knowledge/intellect? What can we do that is adventuresome but not a danger to ourselves or others? Are those in power always right or truthful about what they say? Are we willing to change our plans (as the wise men did by going home a different way)?
- Read: Luke 2: 1-18
- Ask what personal qualities the shepherds had that made them leave their flocks and follow an angel! Is what the angel said truthful or just pretty words? What is the reaction of Mary and Joseph to having a baby in a manger? (A manger is a long trough from which cattle and horses eat their hay, often in a shed or barn.)
- Discuss what the life of a shepherd would have been like. Do you think this experience changed them? Are "peace and good will" present-day possibilities? Where could we start? When things don't turn out as we'd planned, can we be calm and accept what we do have (as Mary and Joseph did)?
- Read: Luke 2: 19, 22, 25-33, 42-49, 52
- Ask what unusual quality Mary exhibits here. Was it coincidence that Simeon was in the temple when the family came? How did the family feel about Simeon's pronouncement? Although we don't have many clues, what kind of a young boy do you think Jesus was?
- Discuss the importance of keeping certain things in one's heart (to one's self) as Mary did. Do parents always fully understand their children? Can a parent be comforted knowing that children are about their "Father's business"? Is each family member increasing in wisdom, stature (ability or achievement) , and in favor with God and man? What does that mean we should be doing?
And you just thought the story was about fluffy lambs! Now you know a bit more!