Bible Reference: Matthew 1:20-25
Translation: The Voice Translation (Voice)
Bible Text: 20 Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord said: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else—rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means “the Lord saves,” because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.
24 Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife 25 (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.
OBSERVATION: All the characters in the Christmas story are just outstanding, but let’s focus on Joseph today. Like any of us, Joseph was able to think of many reasons why he should not follow through with his betrothal to Mary, but in an awesome act of faith, Joseph followed through in obedience to the message from God through the angel. Let us place ourselves in Joseph’s shoes and ponder what we might do in a similar circumstance, considering our current level of faith!
APPLICATION: Kids learn at a very early age that if you really want to get to another kid, just mention something bad about their mom. As adults we become very tender anytime we hear something derogatory about almost any close relative, whether spouse; child; sibling or parents. So as I meditated on this very common passage of scripture that we hear almost every Christmas, I tried to imagine what Joseph must have been thinking when, in spite of him having no sexual relations with Mary, yet he found that the woman he was about to marry was already pregnant. I’m sure his mind must have travelled along the road of infidelity on Mary’s part, and the mockery that he would receive from family and friends. Like us, Joseph had already made plans in his mind how he was going to handle the break-off of the engagement so that there would not be a negative impact on Mary. However, I believe that as Joseph pondered these things in his heart, he must have really been hoping that there would be some miraculous explanation about this whole earth-shattering event in his life, for I believe that love is just that way, it hears bad things, but expects clarification to help an individual make good on his/her commitment to one another. But here comes the kicker, hope came in a very unexpected, and yes, miraculous way, for an angel appeared to Joseph as he slept and dreamed. However the message was very clear. In fact, so much so, that there is no doubt expressed in the Word of God! Joseph simply followed the instructions given to him by the angel. He married his awesome bride, and from every indication, he took care of her as if the baby was his very own flesh and blood. This is an awesome story of obedience to the Holy Spirit, friends. Yes, we can surmise what may have happened if Joseph decided to ignore God, but I sincerely believe that God works very much the same today. When he speaks to us, there is often doubting on our part, or trying to conjure up a plan to escape His plan, but since we are His servants, who should be constantly asking for His guidance and understanding of His will for our lives, we should carefully listen. Therefore, when it becomes evident to us, we simply obey and thank God for it. The obedience of Mary and Joseph led to the fulfilment of prophecy, and to being used by God to birth into this world the Savior, who would ultimately prove to be the very Son of God and redeemer of all who trust Him as their Lord and Savior. Friends, the obedience talked about here led to something BIG, I mean HUGE! Imagine what miracles can be wrought through you and me if only we will humble ourselves in obedience to the King of kings! We may look at the challenges of reaching our family and friends for the Lord as virtually impossible in our eyes, but compared to the miracle of a virgin girl becoming conceived without sexual relations by a man makes our challenges somewhat lame in comparison. Being led by God to witness to, and encourage, a lost friend may sound impossible to us because we are so convinced that we know the negativity of the person so well, but the same God who got through to Joseph, can also redirect our doubtful minds and lead us and the friend we are directed to, towards total obedience. Are you prepared to imitate the obedience and faith of Joseph this Christmas? God has a plan, and you and I could very well be in the very middle of it, if only we will surrender our will to the Master.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are truly in control of this whole universe, and especially in control of Your children seeking Your will for their very next move. As in the case of Joseph, I pray that we will look beyond the possibilities of our natural eyes, and instead rest our very selves at the control of our Savior during this time of the year when most folk stop to reflect on the newborn Christ-child as being the very meaning and reason for Christmas. Lord, may joy bells ring out loudly this Christmas as our family and friends find peace in the grace and power of the new-born King, Jesus, our Lord and the Savior of the world! AMEN!