The Word records this in Matthew, chapter 2: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, when Herod was king. After Jesus’ birth, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem” (v.1). Separated by some 2,000 years from Jesus’ first advent, the wise still seek Him.
I find myself very grateful for the fact that each Advent Season and with each Christmas, we are brought back to the miracle record of God sending His Son, to us, to restore the relationship that we busted apart. Proactively and independent of anything we have done, God took the initiative and poured out His grace and love in a supernatural way. It was, and is, freely given to all who would believe and receive.
Particularly interesting to me, in the birth narrative of Jesus Christ, is Joseph. Sometimes he is relegated to a less important role, overshadowed by the others that we have in the Nativity scene. But Joseph, coupled with his very presence and role, should remind us of some very important things:
- Joseph was an average, everyday person. He was a carpenter by trade and he was a man of faith. He had lineage for sure, but nothing in his life stood out. He was not a famous person; he wasn’t wealthy by any stretch; and he had some issues to work through so that God could use Him (see Matthew 1, vv.18-25).
- In relation to that portion in Matthew 1, Joseph would have to humble himself and overcome the anger, bitterness, and resentment he must have felt when he first learned that Mary was pregnant, before they were married. He knew the child was not his, yet, he wanted to do things honorably – knowing what it would do to Mary, if uncovered.
- When the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, the message was very similar to what the Angel delivered to many others through history: “Do not fear!” or “Do not be afraid!” That changed his perspective, and from that time on, he did what he was commanded to do.
- Joseph was faithful in a very difficult and hard situation. In short, Joseph was obedient to the purpose, to the vision, to the will of the Lord.
The rest of the story is recorded, even though we don’t hear much more about Joseph in the Gospels. He took Mary to be his wife and he was the earthly father to Jesus, who had come. Ponder this: Joseph humbly adopted God’s only Son so that we, you and I, could be adopted into God’s family. What an incredible legacy.
God is faithful! Know that you can trust Him and rely on Him even when it appears like success is the furthest thing from your life’s journey. Know that God’s definition of success compared to the world’s, are often two totally different things. It can be linked and the Lord can surely use secular things to reveal deeper, spiritual truths. He can do anything He so desires and wills. But don’t allow your life to be defined by things of the world.
Christmas is a time for celebration, for humility, and for a reset. Perhaps more than anything, we should give God complete access into our lives so that we can assess how His light, His truth, His will is impacting us and transforming us into the image of His Son. Because in the end…whether we go to Him or He returns first…this is all that’s going to matter.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. May you know the hope, love, joy, and peace that He alone gives and continues to pour out. Let’s be grateful, for God is with us!