by Molly Audiss
Hi Friends! I hope your holiday season is busy and fun, and that you are making memories. I know it is a lot different this year with all the craziness of 2020. Now more than ever, our kids and students and those we love need us to be positive and bring Christmas cheer. Let’s be a light in the dark this Christmas season.
We are continuing our discussion of Joseph the step-dad of Jesus Christ. He was not Christ’s father. God was His Father. But Joseph was a great man and am important part of the Christmas story. Here are some more qualities about this man that are worth emulating. (If you missed last week’s eVotion, you can go back and read it first.)
- Joseph was a just man. He was righteous and fair. He thought things through, and didn’t make impulsive decisions. What a great quality! He took time to be alone and think after Mary told him her unbelievable news. Imagine if he had been a yelling hothead, accusing and screaming and slamming doors. No, God did not choose a loose cannon to be the stepfather of Jesus. He chose a thinker. I man slow to make decisions. While he was thinking about a private divorce, to keep Mary from shame, and possible death, an angel came to him in a dream and told him to believe Mary. Her news was true. She would birth the Messiah.
I have been blessed with a father and with a husband who are slow to speak. Both take time to think before they make a decision. I struggle with this quality. Even worse, when I was younger, I confused this quality with weakness! (to my shame) Real strength is the capability to restrain. My instinct is to give my opinion before I even have all the facts! My mouth can go in gear at lightning speed, even before my brain has time to catch up! Can you relate? I have always been glad, looking back, when I was quiet for awhile before I spoke and gave an opinion or made a decision. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. My quick words have many times been a source of regret in my life.
- Joseph obeyed God. Four different times the angel of God came to him in a dream and gave him instructions. All four times, he woke up and obeyed immediately. Though he was slow to make decisions as a rule, when He knew God was speaking, he was quick to obey. This, to me, is his greatest quality and may be the reason he was chosen for such an honored position as to be the man to rear the Christ-child. God could trust him to obey. Right away. He was given some pretty big tasks-to marry a woman who was already pregnant, and not with his child. To leave his home, in the middle of the night and flee to a pagan nation. To return home to his own city when God said to do it, EVEN THOUGH Scripture records that Joseph was afraid (Matt. 2:22), he still obeyed God.
Because we have the written Word of God, He no longer speaks to us in dreams and visions. But the Holy Spirit, Who lives inside every believer, often nudges our spirit in a certain situation. We all have had times that we have been prompted to do something or warned in our spirit to stay away from something. The more we obey the Spirit, the louder He becomes in our lives. My pastor often tells us that he wants God to whisper to him; he never wants God to have to shout to be heard in his life. I desire the same thing, a life easily led by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. For this to be true, I must take time to read the Bible AND take time to be quiet and still to know the direction of the Spirit of God. The holiday season can be especially fast-paced and busy. We must decide to schedule quiet, still times with God or they will not happen.
- Joseph obeyed the law. He submitted to government authority. He was told to go to Bethlehem to pay taxes, and he did it. This was NOT convenient timing, with a very pregnant wife! But he was a law-abiding man.
I have had 3 children, and I can testify that Mary most probably was not riding on a donkey the day before she gave birth! The donkey gets a lot of fame in the Christmas story, but is never actually mentioned 😊 My logic tells me that she was probably sitting in a cart on hay or something like that. I definitely hope so! Also, they may have been staying in that barn for awhile before Mary gave birth. It was not necessarily the first night they were in town. It may have been weeks later. I can’t read this story without feeling sorry for Joseph. How he must have felt! His wife was going to have the Messiah, and he could not even find a room or a bed for her. Did he struggle with feelings of failure? This couple must have had a lot of humility and faith to be okay with the circumstances the night that Christ was born.
Humility is rare. It is so rare, that seeing it can be awe-inspiring. A humble person is a life-changer. When a person truly understands that life is not all about them, and they do not need attention or the best of everything in life to be happy….that person is admired. Deep down, we all know that true humility is Christ-like, yet we usually desire things our own way more than we seek God’s will. Joseph was content with whatever circumstance in which God placed him. He trusted God’s plan, even when it did not seem to make sense.
I hope we can do that in our life. When we are wearing our masks, and staying 6 feet apart, and having to stay away from loved ones, or keeping our kids home from school…..these times don’t make sense. How in the world can the craziness in the world around us be part of God’s plan? Joseph and Mary probably wondered the same thing about their life at times. We must continue to trust that God is working all things out for His good and for His will. He is sovereign. He is actively working.
I encourage you to read or listen to the Christmas story again this week- Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2. We will continue our look into the life of Joseph next week. God bless you, Friends! Have a great week!