2020-11-18 A Very Messy Christmas | Our family is messed up. But God is with us.
SMALL GROUP MATERIAL
- What impacted you the most about this message?
- Why does the Bible focus so much on messed up families and not on harmonious perfect families?
- What are other types of messes you or others are having to face?
- As you think about the messes in your own family, do you find yourself relying on God?
- Are there examples of messes in your own family that you feel comfortable sharing where you have experienced God’s presence, grace and redemption?
Our family is messed up. But God is with us.
WEEK 1 November 16-22
WHAT IS THE POINT?
Nobody has a perfect family. The reality is that our families are messed up in some way and usually more than we would like to admit to. Even through this messiness, God has a special design for each family and each member within it. And so, we must remember that even with all the messiness within our families (no matter how messy), God is with us and He plans to heal and restore those who choose to rely on him.
As we dive into this lesson, keep in mind the following: Our family can be messed up, but God is with us and God specializes in redeeming messes.
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son | Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)
“18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: 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[b] 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,[c] 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”[d] (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.”
The Magi Visit the Messiah | Matthew 2:1-18 (NIV)
“2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The Escape to Egypt
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”[c]
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”[d]
Watch the following video to get the youth engaged and on topic
There are lots of dysfunctional and messed up families out there, yours may be a lot more messed up that the one in the video we just watched.
However messed up your family is right now, take heart because God is with you.
WHY DO I CARE?
Many of us are victims of messed up families, messed up families are so common today and have been around since the beginning of time. In fact, there are so many dysfunctional families in the Bible, it is harder to find examples of harmonious families than examples of messed up families. Why do you think that is? We will explore the answer to that throughout the lesson.
The following are some examples from the Bible of messed up families:
- Cain kills his brother Abel.
- Ten of Joseph’s brothers attempt to murder him and end up selling him as a slave.
- Lots family lived in Sodom, a sexually perverse place. Lot and his family leave this place because of God’s judgement against it. Weeks later after this, Lot’s daughter tries to seduce their father.
- Isaac and Rebecca play favourites with their twin boys Jacob and Esau.
- David’s son tries to kill him.
- Jacob’s daughter is raped by Shechem who then wants to marry her.
- And the one we want to focus on today… Jesus’ family.
Jesus’ family was pretty messed up. We need to keep in mind that God is with us during our struggles and that his ultimate plan is to redeem us. Us needy sinners.
You may know of a FEW messed up families, or you may be part of one yourself. Families with problems such as, having to deal with the loss of a family member, having to deal with very sick parents, kids that have been sexually or physically abused, maybe your dad or mom is not around, you and your family may be experiencing financial struggles. We could be here all day because the list goes on… Regardless of your struggle we can find comfort in Jesus’ story.
Let us look into scripture and read Matthew 1:18-19.
At first glance, we see that Joseph was engaged to Mary. Then we see that Joseph came very close to breaking the engagement with Mary. We need to understand that in the Jewish culture, breaking an engagement was treated almost as bad as divorce.
If we dig deeper and look at this passage through the lens of someone that was present during that time, we would see that Mary having a child before getting married would have brought messy societal impacts to Jesus’ family. People probably saw Jesus as a son born from sin which would have probably been hard for Jesus since He is the opposite of this.
This is just one example, if we dig even deeper into Jesus’ story, we see that he was born from a very poor and humble family. Jesus was born in a stable in very unsanitary conditions.
Then we see Jesus’s family having to flee from place to place because King Harrod was threatened by Jesus’ birth and commanded to kill all babies under the age of two. We see this in Matthew 2:1-18
WHAT DO I DO?
We must trust that God is with us though the messiness we experience from our messed-up families.
From Jesus’ three examples mentioned above, we see this truth remains present and alive.
First, we see that God was with Jesus’ family at the point where Joseph almost broke up the engagement with Mary. God sends an angel to appear in Joseph’s dream and explains the situation to him.
We see that in the midst of Jesus’ family poverty, God still provided a place for Jesus to be born. And even though this happened at a different date and not in a stable, God still sent shepherds and wise men to exalt the birth of Jesus.
Lastly, we also see God protecting Jesus and his family when he sent an angel in another dream to Joseph, warning them to flee the country because King Herod was trying to kill Jesus. God continues to give protection, by letting them know when it is safe to return after Herod’s death.
Ultimately, through God’s protection over Jesus’ family, we were all redeemed, and our sins were paid for.
Take heart on the following three key points as you experience family struggles:
- Trust that we can depend on Him through our struggles because He is with us
When it comes to our own families, our own messes, we need to remember that He is Emanuel “God With Us.” No matter how messy your family may be, or the problems in your family are, God’s plan of redemption and protection is with those that choose to follow Him and want to be made tidy again.
- Use these struggles as an opportunity to become more aware of what God is doing in our lives and become closer to him.
At times God uses pain or struggle in our lives to help us become more aware of our need for Him and His presence. He doesn’t necessarily cause the pain or struggle but it can lead us to depend on Him and experience His grace.
- Let yourself experience his love and redemption as he takes the burden from your messy family struggles.
We must believe that He has not left us by ourselves to deal with the pain that a messy family brings. These struggles are an opportunity to experience the power and grace of God revealed and demonstrated in our own families as He redeems the mess and takes our burdens.
To end the talk, you (leader) can share a story of your own that shows your messed-up family but also showcases God’s plan outlined on the three key points made above.