Today is Tuesday, December 19th
Light two purple candles and the pink candle.
As we get closer to Christmas, we focus our attention on the characters in the story:
What do you know about Joseph? What was he like?
Read Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus Christ 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. [ESV]
This Advent-time we remember Mary and Joseph,
giving thanks for their faithfulness, courage and obedience,
stepping out into the unknown in the strength of Your Spirit,
playing their part in the fulfillment of Your plan
to bring Your prodigal people home again.
We pray that their example might be the pattern of our lives,
that when Your gentle whisper breaks through the clamor of this world and into our small corner, we might be ready to listen,
and having listened, to act.
Personalize it. How can your thoughts and these readings and prayers help you worship fully, give more, spend less and love all.
My name is Cameron and I’ve been at Christ St. Paul’s for 26 of my 30 years on Earth.
I’ve got to be honest. Despite growing up in the church my entire life, despite reading the Bible and learning The Lord’s Prayer with my father at a very young age, I am not very proficient in my Bible knowledge. Even though I know most of the Sunday morning prayers and a lot of the worship songs by heart, I by no means consider myself an expert Christian. So what do I know about Joseph? Well, not a whole lot.
I know he was to marry Mary, and she miraculously became pregnant, and he decided to marry her anyways and “divorce her quietly.” I know he was Jesus’ father, and he must have done a real good job at it, because look how Jesus turned out!
When I really think about Joseph, and when I read this passage and think about what he really faced, I think what a genuinely good man he was. I mean here he was engaged to be married to this woman and she gets pregnant. And instead of just embarrassing her as an adulterer in front of everyone and leaving her all alone, he decides to support this woman anyway, at least for a little while. And then he is visited by this Angel, which probably scared him half to death, and this Angel tells him he’s going to have a son with Mary, of which is actually impossible, but he just goes with the flow. He trusts in his faith and remains obedient to the Lord - he takes Mary as his wife, and he takes Jesus as his son, and he becomes the model husband and father.
And then I think to myself: What if, when God called Joseph to “play his part” in his plan, he had said “NO”?
What if he hadn’t been faithful, courageous, and obedient?
What if he just hadn’t been “ready to listen”?
Several months ago, I felt a calling to reach inside my inner self and begin writing a blog. I felt a strong urge to gather my thoughts and put them down on paper, and broadcast them on the internet for the entire world to read. WHAT WAS I THINKING, right?! Kind of like Joseph felt… I’m sure he was also wondering what he was thinking by moving ahead with his impending marriage…
But for whatever reason, God was putting it on my heart to begin writing again (I hadn’t written since high school, but I was actually pretty good at it). And so I took a leap of faith, I obeyed God’s calling, I sat down at my laptop, I put my feelings into words on a page, and I published it.
After I posted my first blog, I felt a little uncertain about the insane action I just took. I wondered what I had just done, and what people were going to think! I tried to be faithful and trust God in his calling for me to broadcast my inner feelings, but truth be told, I was a bit doubtful…
But then the responses began pouring in. The overwhelming support and positive reactions from my readers, even affirmations from some that my words sort of changed their lives, assured me that having faith and trusting in God’s calling for me to write had been the right thing to do.
Just like Joseph must have felt later in life, as Mary’s husband and Jesus’s father, I was so glad that I had been “ready to listen” to God’s calling. I was happy that I had not only been obedient to His whisper but also courageous in my mission. Much like the devout Joseph.
And so I find myself again trusting in my faith, and trusting that God is not sending me on a wild goose chase. Because I’m just not busy enough, God has yet again asked me to “step out into the unknown” and begin leading my own Home Group here at Christ St. Paul’s. Why he has commanded me to do such a thing, so far, I do not know. But I definitely feel the calling. I ignored it for months, and I hoped that it was a calling that would eventually just go away. But y’all know God - he just keeps on “whispering into our small corner” until we finally have to break down and just listen to him already! There will come a day when His purpose for my leadership of this group will be revealed to me. Until then, I will just continue to do what I can to “fulfill his plan,” just as Joseph did over 2000 years ago.