Here are some ideas for learning and teaching about Matthew 2 and Luke 2.
If you’re interested in a longer video, please check out my “Seeking Jesus Class 8,” which focuses on Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2. If you prefer shorter, no worries, read on…
Short Videos on Matthew 2 and Luke 2
Matthew 2:16-18 — In this short video, I describe a place in Bethlehem known as the “Milk Grotto.” It’s a site that helps us contemplate that at approximately age 15, Mary was on the run to a foreign country. Think about yourself as a fifteen year old — were you ready for such an endeavor? Consider Mary as a young mother, told by her husband that the Lord had warned him that they should flee to Egypt (see Matthew 2:13). What did she feel? Was she frightened? Full of faith? Alternating between the two? Pondering these questions helps me better understand Mary as a person and causes my admiration for her to grow. I think it’s significant that when Nephi asked to know the meaning of the tree that his father saw, the angel first showed him Mary (see 1 Nephi 11:9-15). There is a reason why prophets foresaw her centuries before the birth of Christ, prophesied of her divine mission, and called her by name (see 1 Nephi 11:15-20, Mosiah 3:8, Alma 7:10). While members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not worship Mary, we can certainly reverence her and show her deep respect for her amazing role in God’s plan for humanity.
Luke 2 — Here’s a fun video quiz on the sometimes blurry differences between what the scriptures actually say about Christ’s birth with what we learn from Christmas cards and other traditions. How much do you know about the first Christmas?
The Chosen Videos
These videos are so powerful! See here for ideas on teaching with The Chosen video clips.
If you want a deep scholarly dive into the Savior’s birth, the most comprehensive treatment of the Savior’s book is Raymond Brown’s The Birth of the Messiah (700+ pages). Shorter, more accessible versions of Brown’s insights are found in his books, A Coming Christ in Advent and An Adult Christ at Christmas.
The Christmas quiz video points out that Christ was probably not born in the year 1 BC. If this is a topic you are interested in learning more about, please read this fascinating article about the timing of the birth of Christ.
Sometimes people will use D&C 20:1 to show that April 6 is Christ’s birthdate. This verse says, “The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh… in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.”
It’s important to note that John Whitmer was the scribe for this section, and this was a common way he wrote. On another occasion, he wrote, “It is now June the twelfth one thousand eight hundred and thirty one years, since the coming of our Lord and Savior, in the flesh.” He obviously is not marking a specific day of Christ’s birth, but rather using a common way of speaking about the year.
Finally, here’s a post on Mary’s encounter with Simeon, when he meets the baby Jesus.