An Advent Devotion for December 23
Read Matthew 1:18-25
“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.” Matthew 1:20b
Joseph was confused and hurt. The woman he planned to marry was pregnant. In the first century, the act of betrothal was as binding a covenant as a marriage. Discovering that Mary was pregnant was devastating to Joseph. He loved Mary and didn’t want to hurt her, yet his own hurt was overwhelming. Agonizing over the right thing to do, he planned to set the marriage aside in the legal manner available to him.
Then in a dream, God’s word comes to him. It changes the direction of his life. Confusion was replaced by God speaking words of comfort, encouragement and promise. Often it is when we are most confused that God breaks in, causing us to look at our lives differently. When our plans are disrupted and our world falls apart, God speaks to our hearts. When we listen, we hear God telling us quietly that God’s plan for our lives may be very different from the one we’ve been pursuing. When we listen, when we really hear God’s plan and follow it, our lives take on a significance they did not have before. Joseph listens to the voice of the angel. As he does so he believes this child must be given a chance to be nurtured and loved.
A friend wrote this words, “So it is with all of us. Christlike understanding must be given a chance . . . Must be nourished until it’s big enough to cast a healing saving influence across the earth.” Joseph reminds us to make room both in our hearts and our homes for the Christ child to be nurtured and to grow within us.
Prayer: Loving God, We give thanks for Joseph, who in his confusion followed his heart, listened to your words of comfort and opened both heart and home to the Christ child and Mary. May we also open our hearts to the children you’ve put in our lives. Amen.
Additional Advent & Christmastide Devotions can be found by clicking here: Advent & Christmastide Devotions