PREPARE TO LISTEN
Light a candle and pray: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Request for Presence: Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
READ Matthew 1:18-25
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
Did Mary tell Joseph she was pregnant? Or did someone else tell him when “she was found to be with child”? Mary’s story is omitted in Matthew’s version, just as Joseph’s story is omitted in Luke’s version. His immediate reaction to Mary’s pregnancy was to quietly break off the engagement. This wasn’t his child. An angel, in a dream, commanded otherwise. Joseph had to take a giant leap of faith, obeying an angelic visitor despite the fact that the message was unbelievable—a son of Mary to be named Emmanuel, God with us; fulfillment of that ancient prophecy in Isaiah 7. It cost Joseph to publically take Mary as wife and to wait with her for this child, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Wonder how Joseph felt at the prospect of being father to “God-With-Us.” How might you feel?
RESPOND TO JESUS IN PRAYER.
In the glitz of Christmas plans, Jesus we often forget that your coming initially brought suffering to many people, especially Mary and Joseph. Their obedience transformed them. Help me today to embrace the suffering with obedience so that I too may live a transformed life. To the praise of your glory, Amen.
BE SILENT AND STILL (for as long as you want). Simply be in the presence of Jesus, who loves you, regardless.
A REMINDER: The next Advent Post will be Christmas Eve.