This week will probably be a bit different from last week’s as there is more of an actual reading assignment. Have you decided how your group or family will read the assignments? Will you read them as a family, individually but come together to discuss, both? It’s a good week to try one method out then evaluate the success at the end to adjust accordingly.
Remember to grab your free New Testament textables to remind your group or family what you will be studying and encourage each other throughout the week. Each week there are three textables you can send out- one with the reading assignment, one with a question to ponder, and another with a scripture.
These are great resources to study throughout the week as you prepare to teach this to your family or as you study it together.
Matthew 1-2 from the New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students
Matthew 1-4 from New Testament Student Manual
Matthew 1-5 from New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Matthew 1-4 from New Testament Institute Teacher Manual
Who Are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John? from the Ensign
“Models to Follow” by President Thomas S. Monson
“Mary, the Mother of Jesus” by Gaye Strathearn (Ensign)
“Elisabeth” by Aspen Stander (Ensign)
“Luke” by Roger R. Keller (from the Ensign)
DESERET BOOKSHELF PLUS RECOMMENDATIONS
These are great to listen together in the car on the way to school. My whole family loves listening to the youth speaker ones especially. Remember, as a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS member, you can access these eBooks or audio books anytime. Find out more about Deseret Bookshelf PLUS.
"Mary and Elisabeth: Noble Daughters of God" by S. Kent Brown
"Mary and Joseph" by Robert Marcum (This is a novel based on the history. Obviously, not for real scriptural study but it would help to see things a little more from their eyes)
"In Mary's Arms: A Christmas Message for Mothers" by Mary Holland McCann
Watch a video and discuss it after dinner, recap a part of the lesson before Church on Sunday, share a video in a group and discuss it together, or pause and discuss a video as part of your main lesson .
An Angel Foretells Christ’s Birth to Mary (about 4 minutes)- Bible video
Mary and Elisabeth Rejoice Together (about 5 minutes)- Bible video
Sealed Together: The Manaus Temple Caravan (about 14 minutes)- A group of Saints trek to the Sao Paulo Temple
Elisabeth and Zacharias (about 1 minute)- Illustrated scripture story
John the Baptist is Born (about 1 1/2 minutes)- Illustrated scripture story
A Mother’s Hope (about 3 minutes)- Story about Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s mother
Dare to Stand Alone (about 4 1/2 minutes)- Story from the life of President Thomas S. Monson
Questions to Ponder and Discuss
Use these questions to help you ponder as you do your personal studies, encourage journaling for your kids, text them to a friend or child to get the conversation going, or take them with you in the car and randomly draw from a bag as you carpool to school or your next practice. These go beyond the questions in the manual.
How does the story of Mary and Elisabeth bearing children help you as you confront life’s difficulties?
What are some things the Lord has helped you accomplished?
What is something you feel is impossible in your life? Is it a worthwhile pursuit? How can God help you accomplish it? What can you do to show that you trust God to help you accomplish it when the time is right?
What are some of your weaknesses? How can you turn them into strengths? How can the Lord help you? What have you learned from your weaknesses?
What does the scripture “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37) mean to you? How can you apply to your life? What about when it doesn’t happen when you expect?
How can we be more like Mary when God reveals His will for us? (Luke 1:38) What else can you learn from Mary in these chapters?
Why is it helpful to understand who the authors of the gospels are? If you were to write some scriptures, who would your audience be and why? What would you include? How is it helpful to you to have these different versions?
Why is important to you to know the Savior needed to have a mortal mother and immortal father? What are some things you inherited from your parents?
What are some blessings you have had to wait for? What did you learn during the process of waiting? How can you continue to patient if you are still waiting? What helps you continue exercising faith while you wait?
What do you feel is God’s plan for you right now? How’s it going? What do you struggle with? How can others help you?
What can you learn from Zacharias and Elisabeth’s faithfulness while they continued to wait for some blessings? What else can you learn from Zacharias and Elisabeth?
Why do you think blessings come in God’s time instead of when we feel we need them?
When have your plans differed from the Lord’s plan for you? What did you learn from that experience? Was it hard to change course? Did you change course? What can we do now to be able to accept the Lord’s will for us in the future?
What are some things you can learn from Mary as she accepted God’s will?
What are some things you learn from the angel about God’s plan for us?
What can you learn from Joseph’s righteous example in Matthew 1:18-25? How can that help you in your life?
What are some things you learn about Jesus Christ from Mary? (Luke 1:45-55) How can that help you? What do you learn from Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 and from Christ’s Beatitudes in Matthew 5:4-12? What additional insights can you gain from reading these scripture verses together?
How does knowing your ancestry bless your life? What are some of your favorite stories? Who can you ask to learn more about your ancestors? What are you doing to keep your own family’s history?
What can we learn from understanding Christ’s lineage?
How can you overcome the fear you might feel in your life? How do the scriptures in Matthew 1:20 and Luke 1:13, 30 encourage you?
Why should we “fear not”? What things can you do now, so you can overcome fear in the future? How can you build courage in your heart?
What scripture stories can you think of about individuals overcoming the fear they initially felt? What can you learn from these people? What are some personal stories that show you overcoming fear?
What are some scripture stories that show “with God nothing shall be impossible”? What are some personal stories that show that?
How has faith helped you through difficult times?
When has the Savior helped you overcome fear?
How can fear limit our progression? What purpose might fear have as part of our earthly existence?
How can we help others overcome their fears?
When has the spirit helped you to push away fears and doubts?
When has standing with the prophet helped you overcome your fears?
When standing in holy places, how have you felt the spirit ease your worries? What are some holy places you can stand in?
In what ways does the love of God conquer all our fears?
When have you put your fears aside and relied on the Lord?
How has Heavenly Father helped you when you have prayed?
How can we show our faith while waiting for answers and blessings? How do we endure well when we don’t get immediate answers?
What three words would you use to describe Mary? Joseph? Elisabeth? Zacharias?
In what ways does having faith help you accomplish something you feel unprepared for or inadequate at?
In what ways is faith our warmth as we face darkness and uncertainty?
Think of a time when you have felt uncertain, alone, frustrated, angry, let down or disappointed. How have you refocused yourself so you can get back on the covenant path?
These are my ideas. My hope is that my thoughts may be a springboard to your own great ideas that are right for you and your family. Some ideas are for families with young children while others might be for widows meeting together as a group. Read through and find what’s right for your situation.
Keep track of the different authors found throughout the scriptures with these scripture author cards. This week’s lesson includes Matthew and Luke. Fold them in half and you can add notes on the back throughout your studies. Punch holes in the corners and put them on key ring next to your scriptures. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss the difference between scriptures and a good book.
“Things I Can Learn From…” posters are a great way to dive into the scriptures more. They come in two sizes so you can glue them in your personal journal or print a full sheet for your family to do together (the images are great for kids to color or use them yourself as ponder a particular phrase. It helps you slow down and take a moment to reflect).
As you teach your children the story of Elisabeth and Zacharias, give them a coloring page. It’ll help keep their hands busy while also making some connections. Encourage them to draw in additional details from the story as well.
Use the shadow puppets of Mary, Joseph, and Angel Gabriel to tell these scripture stories with your family. Grab your flashlights and go into a dark room then hold up the shadow puppets as your read the appropriate verses (There are ones for Elisabeth and Zacharias too). Psstt… you can get the bag puppet version instead in my Primary Teacher post for this lesson.
Discuss how the Lord answers prayers using my Prayer Flip book. It goes over the story of Elisabeth and Zacharias as well as Nephi, Enos, and Joseph Smith as well as teaches about the reverent language we can use while we pray and how it should be a daily habit.
I love the Scriptures Scouts and they have a great Prayer Video. If you are still teaching your little ones about prayer, this is a great way. The video is the one on the right with the picture of the girl in the graduation cap.
Use the Elder Jeffrey R. Holland quote worksheet to recognize some of the blessings that have come quickly into your life, some blessings that have taken longer to receive, as well as the blessings you are looking forward to in the future.
Add the “With God nothing shall be impossible” bookmark to your scriptures or hang the poster version in your house this week as a reminder. It’s great to ponder, memorize, and share testimony.
Use my scripture worksheet to keep track of what you learn from the suggested verses about Christ’s mission (included in the Print Worksheets button).
Fill out your own family tree as well as what Christ’s might look like. FamilySearch.org is a great place to start. There are a bunch more activities for children, youth, and families focused on temple and family history work on LDS.org as well.
Looking for a paper version to fill out your own family tree? There are several free family tree charts you can print out from ThoughtCo.
Go on a mission to discover all the impossible things that were made possible because of God’s help. Use the folder to keep track of all the missions you discover in the scriptures or your life. You can add to it throughout the year!
Use my rope object lesson (scroll down to my video and skip to about 1:00) where each knot in the rope represents a time you chose to doubt not or fear not. How are these moments important?
Draw on the power of music and ask your family or group what songs help strengthen their faith and diminish their fear. You can then either read some of the words out loud, sing the hymn together, or listen to the music quietly allowing individuals to ponder on it.
Trusting the Lord is part of having faith. Split into groups and give each some of these free printable sticky-notes to answer and put on the board when they are finished answering. Then read the notes together and continue the discussion.
Read the Who am I? faith cards included in my Primary 4 Lesson 43 handouts. How did faith spur these people into action. How did it help them overcome fear? What can we learn from them? How are faith and fear related? Use several scriptural examples to show the cause and effect of having faith. For example WHEN Moses had faith he CAUSED the Red Sea to be parted and saved the children of Israel. You can make a chart with WHEN we have faith, we CAUSE miracles to happen.
Discuss your family history around the dinner table with my free Family History Dinner Discussions.
Take time to work on your family history! Index, take a name to the temple, record a family story.
- Looking for more helps? Love Pray Teach has a great lesson kit that includes a game, family tree, coloring pages, and more. Remember, the Red Headed Hostess also has scripture kits for every lesson to help you tell the stories with visuals as well as dive into the scriptures further. LDS Messages is another site that has several activity pages that may be a good fit for your family.
Use these activities during your lesson, as a morning activity reminder, or any other time to quietly reinforce this week’s lesson. Many of these resources are from LDS.org, however, some may be from other helpful bloggers.
Prayer- Mini coloring pages to identify different types of prayer- could make into a book or print two copies and play Memory.
Prayer is Reverent Communication Between God and Me- Story and Memory Game- try hiding the pieces throughout the room for the kids to find and match up on the board together instead.
Prayer Puzzle- (older kids) Story and Crossword puzzle
We Do Not Doubt- Dot to Dot and coloring page
Heavenly Father Hears and Answers My Prayers- (older classes) Match the scripture characters to why they prayed and what happened.
How To Pray- A poster to remind how to pray
Did You Think to Pray- Prayer Chart Coloring Page
Prayer Reminders- 2 piece puzzles to match together
Choosing the Right Through Prayer and Study- Find your way through the maze
Time for Family Prayer- Get through the maze to make it to family prayer
Prayer of Thanks- Circle the things the matches
Shhh....It's Time for Prayer- Make these puppets to remind everyone to be reverent during prayers
I Can Receive Answers to Prayers- Color these steps to receiving answers
Heavenly Father Hears and Answers Prayers- (older classes) Make this chart to remember some things to include in your prayers.
The Power of Prayer- Board game
Fasting and Prayer- Movable puppets to make
Prayer COLORING PAGES
David and Goliath- Coloring page that would also work well for showing how nothing is impossible
Jesus Calms the Tempest- Coloring page
Esther Pleads with the King- Coloring page
Be of Good Cheer and Do Not Fear- Bright idea poster- great to hang up or turn it into a puzzle.
Peace, Be Still- Bright idea poster
Be Strong and of a Good Courage- Bright idea poster
Looking for other themed activities on LDS.org? Try searching for activities by topics.