Imagine, if you can, being a righteous young man, prepared to marry a lovely maiden and learning that she is already expecting, and it is not your child! In the natural realm, there certainly would be doubts. Joseph did have doubts. He was ready to have Mary hidden away so that she would not be disgraced. He loved her, but he must have felt what many would have felt in that situation: whose is it? will this happen again? can I trust her? and, yes, even, why? why me? Remembering that Joseph was a righteous man, we can assume that he wanted what was best for Mary.
Now imagine having an angel appear before you with this message: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20b)
God gave Joseph the truth and opened his eyes to the future plan Scripture had proclaimed. The Baby, not conceived by man, was Jesus, the Son of God, Emmanuel, the Lord with us, the Savior of the World. He would come to earth in the form of a tiny helpless baby. He would grow up, suffer for unregenerate wretched sinners and die on a cruel cross, shedding His blood as an atonement for our sins so that we, who repent and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, will spend eternity in heaven with Him. FOREVER!
Joseph doubted like any man might, but God showed him the truth. Once he received the message from God, in faith believing, he did not doubt and he was no longer afraid to take Mary as his wife. He obeyed the Father and raised his family, including the Son of God in human form. (Imagine raising a perfect child!) Joseph was a mortal man, a righteous man who trusted God. When God spoke to him, he responded as a righteous man should.
How do we respond to tragic or unsettling news? I often wonder how those who do not know the Lord God can cope at all. Even as Christians, we can give in to doubt and fear before we move to that place where we are willing to allow the Lord to speak His truth to us, providing clarity to our circumstances.
This year as we enjoy the beauty of the season’s decorations, being with family and friends, sharing fun conversation, great food, and giving gifts as well as receiving a few, let’s also be aware of the significance of the message in Joseph’s dream. The Baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit and Joseph was not to be afraid. Likewise, we are not to fear– for God is with us.
Joseph was to be part of the Story, but we are to tell the Story, the whole Story. And the Story of the Baby in the manger is only the first chapter. The Baby didn’t stay a baby but grew into the God-Man who gave His life for us. Within it we learn how to listen to God and how to trust rather than doubt. But the best part is the ending, the climax–the CROSS! Just as Joseph’s doubts were answered, God can remove our doubts and fears when we move our gaze past the manger scene, look at His Cross and allow Him to open our eyes to its truth.
May your Christmas be blessed because of the CROSS of Christ.
TO PONDER IN YOUR HEART: Our doubts are often stronger than our faith. God sometimes has to change our minds to convince us to do His will.