Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Home for Christmas
Week 2: Home for Christmas
- Share what you know about the season of Advent, or any traditions your family may follow during Advent.
- How you will be loving the 561 this Christmas – through the Angel tree, or by inviting someone to Blue Christmas this Thursday or to any of our Candlelight Christmas services?
- Our memory verse for this series is John 1:14. Recite it together:
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
What does it mean that Jesus is “full of grace and truth”?
- Read Matthew 1:18-25: 18 “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
Discuss what comes to your mind when you read this passage. In particular, talk about Joseph’s perspective and circumstances surrounding this time in his life.
- Read (or sing together if you wish) the first verse of the beloved Christmas song “Silent Night”:
Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace; sleep in heavenly peace.
Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!
What feelings does this song evoke in you when you hear it or sing it?
- Silent Night was written about 200 years ago in a small town in Austria. It has been recorded many times be many different artists, the most popular being a recoding by Bing Crosby in 1943.
Why do you suppose this song has been so popular over the past 2 centuries?
- As you discussed in question 6, do you think the night of Jesus’ birth was actually calm and bright for Joseph? Why or why not?
How about your life? Is it calm and bright right now? Share what’s going on in your life that prevents a calm and bright outlook, if you are willing.
As we are looking at Joseph’s story this week, we can see how God brought deep change within Joseph, and he has the power to move in your circumstances in mighty ways. Here are 3 ways God brought change in Joseph, and can bring change in you too:
A Change of Mind
- Read Matthew 1:19 – “Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
Now read Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
What do these passages tell you about how God changes our mind?
Pastor Trevor talked about the book “Changing Your Mind” by our own Dr. Vic Copan, where he talks about how current research in neuroscience is telling us what God’s word has told us all along, that our thoughts have a profound affect on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.
- What current thoughts do you need God to change? Share if you are willing.
A Change of Heart
- Read Matthew 1:20 – “But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”
How did God change Joseph’s heart regarding marrying Mary?
- Now read Ezekiel 36:26 – I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Have you ever felt like you’ve had a heart of stone and needed God to give you a heart of flesh? How did he change your heart? Tell about it.
- How does God want to change my heart today?
A Change of Leadership
- Here at Community of Hope, we use the term “Followers of Christ” rather than “Christians”. Why do you think we do that?
- Read Matthew 1:24 – “When Joseph woke up, he did what he angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.”
Can you see how Joseph allowed God to change his mind and his heart, and therefore opened him to accepting God’s leadership in his circumstances? Discuss the long-range results of Joseph’s decision to allow God to lead him through his circumstances. Talk about the results Joseph could not possibly have seen if he hadn’t let God change his mind, heart & leadership.
- If you are willing, share an area of your life that God wants you to follow him.