When we were looking at this quarter of studies in Matthew 1-13, we considered several approaches to the first three sessions. The question was how do we account for Christmas. Granted, for some, it does not matter when we study the birth of Jesus. However, for some groups, studying the birth of Jesus on the Sunday prior to Christmas is important and given a priority.
1) following the order of the chapters (ignore that the Christmas session is traditionally on the Sunday prior to Christmas),
2) study chapter 1, then chapter 3, then chapter 2 (to account for Christmas),
3) to do what we did (introduction with John’s declaration of Jesus in chapter 3 then studying chapters one and two leading up to Christmas).
Our desire was to place the Christmas stories (chapters 1 and 2) as close to Christmas as possible in a way that made some sense. Placing John’s announcement as the first lesson accomplished that. The titles of the sessions reflect this rationale: The Way Prepared, the King Arrives, the King Worshiped.
Our prayer is that every group will rediscover the joy of Christmas as we celebrate the arrival of our King!