|This article is an excerpt out of Ideas for Parents: A Collection of Tips, Insights, and Activities for Real-World Parenting by Mark Matlock and Christopher Lyon. For more information on this book and/or to purchase it, please click here.|
Scripture: Luke 1:26-45
Many scholars assume Mary was a teenager—maybe even a younger teen—when she became pregnant with Jesus. That fact amazed me (Mark) when I was in junior high. But it amazes me even more today when I look at the middle school students I know.
Comparing Mary’s culture to ours is like comparing apples and oranges. After all, Mary was engaged to be married. Society expected more maturity out of her than it does from the braces-wearing, iPod-equipped fourteen-year-olds in this time and place. Still, the amount of faith she expected in the face of visits from angels and an unplanned pregnancy is inspiring.
And that’s our hope this week, to prod our children to be inspired by—and to aspire after—Mary’s faith. We hold her up as a role model not because she was extraordinary (which she was), but because she was a normal human teenager like our kids. If Mary can trust God in the middle of a difficult opportunity, then our teenagers can too. We want our kid to catch that they, too, can trust God when life is hard. We want them to know that God can use them right now—often in unexpected ways.
It might be helpful to talk about Mary’s faith in God and her willingness to obey after you attend a church Christmas program or watch a Christmas movie on TV. Even better, read Luke 1:26-45 together.
Does it surprise you when people say Mary was probably a teenager when the angel came and told her she would become pregnant and give birth to Jesus? Why do you think we expect God to choose older people for really important events like this?
Can you think of any other kids or teens in the Bible whom God used to do something big? (Parent: Some examples are David fighting Goliath [1 Samuel 17:1-51]; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego defying Nebuchadnezzar [Daniel 3:1-30]; the boy with the barley loaves and two fish [John 6:5-15].)
Can you think of any modern kids or teens whom God has used to accomplish big things?
Can you think of any current or historical kids or teens who did other important things?
Why do you think angels always had to tell people not to be afraid of them?
How would it feel to hear a messenger from God tell you that you are highly favored and the Lord is with you?
Do you believe that because you’re a Christian, you are highly favored?
Do you believe God is with you? (Parent: Be sure to reinforce that God favored us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to earth as a baby so he could grow up and become a sinless man who would willingly die for our sins so we could be saved for ternity. Now that’s favor! Also talk about how God is always with every Christian today—through his Holy Spirit.)
Do you think you would have believed the angel’s message that you were about to get pregnant even though you’d never had sex? Why or why not?
If you had believed the angel, what kinds of things would you have been tempted to worry about? (Parent: many of us would wonder what our parents will think. Would people believe us when we said we hadn’t had sex—that this was God’s baby? What will Joseph think?)
How much would it help you to hear that one of your relatives was also pregnant with a “miracle baby”?
Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” How close is that to our attitude toward God—that her can do whatever he wants with us? How hard is it to keep that attitude?
What are some of the ways you expect God to use your life—at your age right now—to his glory? Are you ready for him to use your life in an unexpected way?