by Mary Beth Popp

Download a PDF of the Word One Bible Study: Dreaming for Christmas 1 Gospel.

Text: Matthew 2:13-23 for the First Sunday after Christmas, Lectionary Series A


Participants will:

  • Reflect on Joseph as an example of a person faithful to God’s will.
  • Reflect on God’s will as experienced in their own life.

Materials Needed

Bible, large sheets of paper, markers

Building Community

If your group is larger than 8, break into two or more groups of 4-6 each. Each participant, if comfortable, should share a recent dream. (Dreams could be funny, serious, scary or just plain bizarre!) Ask for a volunteer to begin and conclude when everyone who wishes to has had a turn.

Looking at God’s Word

  1. Read Matthew 2:13-15. What is Joseph to do? How long did it take him to follow through?
  2. We don’t hear much about Joseph after this, but as we can see, he was a very important part of God’s plan to bring Jesus into the word. Joseph was obedient to God’s will as revealed to him in a dream. This wasn’t the first time that Joseph obeyed God as revealed in a dream. When was the first time recorded in Scripture? (see Mathew 1:20-25)
  3. What other biblical characters experienced divine revelation in a dream? See Numbers 12:6, Genesis 31:11, 1 Kings 3:5 and Matthew 2:12.
  4. God may not send an angel or speak to us directly in our dreams. (Although, we may wish he would when we are struggling with His will and seeking a direction He would have us go in a certain situation.) How does God speak to us today? How has God spoken to you in your life experience? (Answers may include through prayer, Scripture, worship, family and friends.)
  5. Read Matthew 2:16-23. Once again we see Joseph obedient to God’s direction in his life and the life of his family. How do you think Mary and Joseph reacted when it was revealed that it was time to move again. How might you have reacted?
  6. God clearly was protecting the young Jesus as well as Mary and Joseph. How has God worked in your life to protect you or someone you know from harm?

Reinforcing What Has Been Learned

Just as Mary and Joseph spent their early life together on a physical journey to Egypt and Nazareth, each of us is on a journey. We could follow Mary and Joseph’s travels on a map and likewise we can “map” our personal journey to this point in our lives.

Distribute a large piece of paper and markers to each participant. Each person should map their journey using words and/or pictures to designate significant highlights and turning points in their journey. Begin with birth and include other events such as Baptism, Sunday school, school, confirmation, youth retreat, death of a friend or family member, family move, Servant Event, etc. Participants should share their highlights of their journey maps with their group.


Close with a group prayer, giving everyone the opportunity to participate.

Originally published in Discovery Bible Studies 11, studies on the Gospel readings for lectionary series A, in 1998.
Republished and revised in December 2013 for youthESource.