Inspired by . . . Advent: His name is Jesus
And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Mat 1:19-21
Behold the virgin birth!
Should we be surprised that God chose such a righteous man as Joseph, and such a courageous woman as Mary to raise His Son?
During this second week of Advent I encourage you to ponder the back-story of His miraculous and JOYous birth.
Come down from the pomp and splendor of the trumpeting angels. Turn from the bright, twinkling stars for just a moment, and walk the dusty streets beside a simple carpenter and a teenage girl.
Never, in their wildest dreams, could either of them have imagined what God would ask them to do.
What kind of man was Joseph? Scripture tells us he was a just man. Even before the angel appeared to him in a dream, Joseph had decided to divorce Mary quietly, rather than shame her publically. His compassionate response tells me that he had feelings for her, which means he likely felt hurt and betrayed by what he believed had taken place.
What would life had been like for a young mother shamed in this way? Mary might very well have chosen stoning over the life as a single mother and outcast, except for the Promise that she knew grew within her.
Mary trusted God to protect her. She trusted Him even though she didn’t know His plan. We know about Joseph’s dream, but there is no evidence in scripture that Mary knew. When she said yes to God, she did so assuming the worst could happen. She had to have been terrified. One moment she was the apple of her father’s eye, betrothed to a good, stable man and the next . . . at best an outcast - at worst stoned to death.
Yet, she said yes.
What gave Mary the courage, and Joseph the confidence to say yes?
I think they were able to do so because they knew. . . how great is our God! They had been raised with the scriptures. They knew them intimately. Generation after generation had been waiting for the Messiah.
Just as we await Him now.
Their fear quickly turned to JOY and praise!
The long-awaited Savior was about to be born!
We can learn much from Mary and Joseph. They were real people. Dealing with real, life-changing issues. Just like you and me.
Are we compassionate, like Joseph, in the face of disappointment and betrayal?
Are we obedient and trusting, like Mary? Even when saying yes to God may mean losing everything we hold dear?
If there is one thing I’ve learned in this life, it’s that things are often not as they appear. God works in complex and mysterious ways.
But He can be trusted.
“For nothing will be impossible with God." Luke 1:37
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