BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Matthew 1:18-25 NRSV
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. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:
Sunday: Matthew 1:18
Dear Lord, help me to keep the promises that I make, and make me faithful in all my relationships. Amen.
What are the promises that people make to one another when they get engaged to be married? What would it be like to think that your significant other was lying to you about something very important?
Monday: Matthew 1:19
Dear God, help me to know the right thing to do in sticky situations. Help me to show mercy to others, as you show mercy to me. Amen.
What do you think that you would have done in Joseph’s situation? What are some ways that you can do what is right, but also what is merciful?
Tuesday: Matthew 1:20
Dear Jesus, you are with me when I am awake and when I am asleep. Grant me peaceful rest, and an open mind to hear your voice. Amen.
What do you dream about? Do you listen to your dreams? Has God ever sent you a message through a dream? What was that experience like?
Wednesday: Matthew 1:21
(Take a few moments to think about the ways in which you have sinned and want forgiveness)
Dear Jesus, I ask you to forgive me completely, and to save me from my sins. Amen.
The name Jesus means “God saves.” Why do you think that this is an important name for the Son of God to have? How does Jesus save us from our sins?
Thursday: Matthew 1:22-23
Dear God, I thank you that you are present in my life, in the good times, in the bad times, and everywhere in between. Help me to know that this is really true in my life. Amen.
What does it mean that “God is with us” in the person of Jesus? At what times and in what places do you know that God is present in your life?
Friday: Matthew 1:24
Dear God, I thank you for Joseph and Mary, and the commitment that they made to one another in uncertain times. Help me to reach out in love towards others. Amen.
Tell your favorite story of a wedding. What do you think that it means that Joseph and Mary are making a lifetime commitment at this point in the story?
Saturday: Matthew 1:25
Dear Jesus, I thank you for claiming me as your own in the waters of baptism. Help me to walk as a child of your light, now and always. Amen.
In Bible times, when a father named a child, he was claiming it as his own. What do you think of Joseph for claiming Jesus as his son on earth? Who do you claim as your own? Who claims you?