Matthew 1:18 – 25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ[a] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 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.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Joseph was a man of impeccable character. His desire was to treat his beloved Mary with the respect and tenderness that she deserved. But clearly his heart and mind were in conflict. However, it didn’t take him long to determine what he would do. God had spoken, and Joseph would obey. He also knew that people would question and talk, but he knew that if God directed, God would give them both the ability to withstand any criticism that came their way. He was determined to prove his love for God by following the words Jesus Christ would speak many years later.
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”
Is God asking you to step out and to do something hard and out of your comfort zone this Christmas season? There are many who cross your path every day who need a word of encouragement, a warm meal, or a warm pair of socks.
Has God given you a clear plan, or commandment?
How will you respond with your gift of Obedience?
Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)
"In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
As a very young woman, Mary knew that once her pregnancy went public stories and gossip would flourish. However, she put her complete trust in God’s wisdom and plan. Though she could not possibly know what lay ahead, she had faith in her God, and knew that He would care for her. Perhaps she also memorized and depended on verses such as Proverbs 3:5-6.
"Trust in the Lord always, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths."
Mary was also prompted to spend time with a mentor. She traveled several miles to visit her older relative Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child. Elizabeth would have been able to encourage Mary and help to strengthen her trust in God. They were both going through pregnancies which were beyond human explanation and comprehension. (Luke 1:39 – 56)
Are you facing a difficult situation, problem or decision?
Perhaps you can give Jesus the gift of Trust today. Don’t try to understand the situation from a human perspective, but believe that He will direct you in the right path, even though you are not able to see that path at the moment. Find a person in whom you have seen the love and wisdom of God in many situations. Let them know what you are going through, and ask them to pray with you, and guide you through this time.
It is not always easy to trust in God. We are not able to see Him. If you have never trusted Him before, begin with one small step at a time. Each small step will give you more confidence in His guidance and the next steps will be easier.
Advent Reading Idea: There are 24 chapters in the book of Luke. If you read one a day beginning today, you will read through the life of Christ by Christmas Eve. What a wonderful way to focus on Christ and let Him speak to you this month.
Debi Snider... more