We have just gone through the season of Advent and Friday was Christmas. Jesus Christ is born and has come to save us from our sins!! (which most of the time is the same as saving us from ourselves) Whoop Whoop!
Something’s really been bugging me lately. As soon as Christ is born, it’s all about Jesus and His ministry, which it should be. But, what happened to Mary and Joseph? They are the ones who: got engaged, miraculously became pregnant and had to leave everyone and everything familiar behind on a moments notice. Has anyone wondered what they were thinking and feeling while all of this was unfolding?? Can we learn anything from their reactions? If so, how can we incorporate this new found understanding into our lives and our Walk with Christ?
First, in separate instances, the Angel of the Lord appears to Mary and Joseph to tell them a baby is coming. They had very different reactions to the Angel visit and the message God had for them.
The Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Matthew 1:18-25 and he was afraid. Pastor Leslie equated the description of angels being “God’s Ninjas” instead of the serene and peaceful things we see clothed in white with halos. I don’t know about you, but someone popping up out of nowhere, dressed in white would be enough to scare me. No ninja needed thank you! Although he was frightened, Joseph stayed quiet and by the end of the Angel’s visit his anxiety had vanished. He had come around to trust the Angel’s words.
In Luke 1:28-30, the Angel of the Lord appears to Mary. She was confused by his words. How can she have a baby when she was still a virgin?? As Mary listened to the Angel, her reaction changed from confusion and uncertainty to one of acceptance, gratitude and blessing at being chosen to carry God’s Son.
As Jesus’ birth nears, Mary and Joseph must travel to Bethlehem to take part in the census. Joseph packs up his very pregnant wife and all his belongings to make the long journey to Bethlehem where they know no one. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when they arrive in Bethlehem, there are no places for them to stay. How frustrating!!! Not only does Joseph have to worry about Mary, he has to find a place for them to stay where they are outsiders. All before the baby gets here!
You’re probably thinking “Ok, why are you telling us all this? What can we learn from Mary and Joseph? How does it apply to our lives and walk with Christ?”
It’s perfectly alright to be like Joseph. In a world with pandemics and different groups of people trying to gain power, God still reigns. Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.” This is such an important concept for us to understand that it is restated in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” God sent Jesus to be our friend. No matter what is going on or what happens, God’s got it and you. He is ALWAYS there whether we feel Him or not.
We should be like Mary. After the Angel’s visit, she had no reservations and was ready to be totally obedient to God. In Luke 1:38 Mary said, “Let it be with me according to Your word.” As followers of Christ, we should have no problem saying the same. Our purpose is to live lives of faith and show others that no matter what we are feeling or what is going on around us, With God, Nothing is impossible! John 10:10 tells us, “The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.”
Romans 14:17 reminds us not to sweat the small stuff, “God’s kingdom isn’t about eating food and drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” God gives us the freedom to be engaged in His created world and in the work of the kingdom that is both here and fully yet to come.
Knowing God’s promise to us will be fulfilled, we can respond to create a different present. A present, not of fear but one of safety, security and hope. A present that is filled with life in unexpected places. A present knowing that fulfillment of His Promises has come and continues to come and is coming.
We weren’t meant to go through life alone. God sent Jesus to be our friend. He invites us into relationship with Him and eagerly awaits our response to this invitation. When we accept Christ into our lives and become friends with Him, that allows us to become better friends with each other. When we learn to trust God fully, we come a step closer to the perfect union He envisioned from the day He created us.