December 20, Day One of Week Four – The Way of Peace though Peace

Matthew 1: 18 – 25   “This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”

Joseph

Strange Way to Save the World  Song Link

I’m sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
Cause never in a million lives
Would he have dreamed of Bethlehem
And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel
Come to life, and Joseph said

REFRAIN:  Why me, I’m just a simple man of trade
Why Him, with all the rulers of the world
Why here, inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she’s just an ordinary girl
Now I’m not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But, this is such a strange way to save the world

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth
But, Joseph knew the reason
Love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought  REFRAIN

Now I’m not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But, this is such a strange way to save the world

Reflection:  Nowhere in the Bible does Joseph speak.  What we know about Joseph, we know from his actions.  This passage is seen from Joseph’s perspective and is the rare glimpse into his heart.  In his day, marriage was a two stage process.  The engagement is a legally binding contract, usually arranged by fathers.  Engaged persons lived together as husband and wife but the wedding occurs later.  While engaged, he learns Mary is pregnant.  Certainly immaculate conception doesn’t occur to him.  He believes her to be unfaithful.  His kindness is underscored in his decision to divorce her quietly but did not publicly say the child was not his.  His faithfulness is shown in his willingness to believe and follow the commands of the angel.  His humility is revealed when he names his first born Jesus.  The first born son was critical to the family line and property transfer. That Joseph gives up the having a first born son of his own speaks loudly of his character.  We know all of this, not fom Joseph’s words, but due to his actions.

Action:  What do your actions say about your character, your faithfulness, your humility, your personal acceptance of God’s words?   God gives us so many untraditional ways to be his child.  He doesn’t ask for large sums of money or grand acts of goodness.  He doesn’t require fame, a great job or wealth.  What he asks is that we show up in this world as the body of his word.  Find a moment in this last week of Advent to take a careful assessment of your faith and its reflection in your daily walk in this world.  Discover new ways to invoke Joseph-ness into your life so even without saying a word, the light inside you claims you as a child of God.

Dear God, Thank you for your strange way of saving the world, with a smelly stable and ordinary people like Joseph and Mary.  It paints a clear picture of true faith and how much of a difference one ordinary person can make.  It encourages us to let our faith set our path.  Pull us close today so we can see how we can bring our best self to your world.  Striving to be like Joseph, Amen.

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