Mary's Christmas: Even Harder Than You Think
Luke 2:1-20; Matthew 2:1-12
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Warm-up question: What kind of travel difficulties have you endured?
Mary and Joseph just could not catch a break. How do you think they felt about the timing of the census? How difficult was the journey to Bethlehem? Was there even a donkey?
Why was there no place to stay? What would you do if you couldn't find a room? What is a manger? Where would the mangers be located? Was there even a barn?
What must have been going through the shepherds' minds when the angel appeared? Why did the shepherds get the birth announcement? Did shepherds have any significant social standing? The truth is, Jesus came for everybody and anybody is allowed to approach Him.
Do you think Mary and Joseph were pleased when the shepherds came looking for them? Were they still scared and wondering what to do? Their situation was very difficult.
Who are the magi? Why is it unusual that they were coming to honor the new king? They probably practiced sorcery and astrology.
Why was Herod "disturbed" to hear the news of the new king. Why did he tell the magi to come back and get him when they found him? Herod ordered the killing of all children 2 and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem, trying to eliminate his political foe. Mary and Joseph were warned in a dream to escape to Egypt. Our savior and his parents were refugees from political persecution.
Other interesting stuff: the magi entered the "house" and saw the "child." How many magi does the Bible say there were? What were their names? Do they belong in the nativity scene?
Why were the gifts so appropriate? Gold: royalty; Jesus is the King of kings. Frankincense: used in the Temple; Jesus is God in the flesh. Myrrh: perfume, often used for burial; Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice.
Program note: The next episode will release the first Sunday in January. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!