In our series, Giving up Christmas, we have been challenged to let God into the dark areas of our lives and to give Him control. This week we revisit the miracle of Jesus’ birth from the perspective of another person: his earthly father, Joseph.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. Matthew 1:18-19
Imagine how Joseph must have felt when he discovered that his soon-to-be bride was with child! Culturally, this would have meant the ruin of Mary’s reputation, and his, if he stuck by her. While he did not wish to publicly humiliate her, he was understandably ready to walk away to save himself.
But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:20-25
The angel reveals to Joseph that a miracle is happening around him that he has not been able to see. Rather than walk away from it, he is invited to participate and experience the miracle in his own life.
What miracles is God in the process of performing around you?
Your challenge this week is to allow God deep “into your business,” inviting Him to to open your eyes in the same way. What miracles is God in the process of performing around you? Maybe you have a strained relationship with someone. Are you praying, seeking God, and being willing to participate in the blessing in her life? Or are you complaining about the person and walking away?
1. Commit to honor God through honoring people.
Joseph knew that staying with Mary and honoring his commitment to her could bring shame upon him, and yet God asks Joseph to protect her reputation and marry her. God asks Joseph to go way beyond simply “not wanting to make her a public example,” but to stay right in the thick of things with Mary and to pursue with her the closest relationship two humans can have.
You can honor the Lord by honoring others, even people you don’t like! Is there someone against whom you’ve been holding a grudge? Imagine if you honored that person, protected his reputation, refused to roll your eyes or talk negatively about him, and decided to allow God to use you as a vehicle for blessing in his life.
2. Don’t be afraid to follow God’s lead into the impossible.
With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26
Pastor Miles surmised that the number one reason people don’t step into the miraculous is fear. Are you afraid to talk to a stranger about your faith because she may reject you? Are you afraid to invite your family member to church because you’ll be ridiculed, judged, or embarrassed?
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
What is God is telling you to do in that could be part of a miracle in someone’s life? Your actions of obedience could lead to her salvation, encouragement, healing, deliverance, or whatever God has planned, so as the angel said to Joseph, “don’t be afraid!”
3. Be willing to live a self-sacrificial life.
Not only did Joseph stay with Mary and honor her, he abstained from consummating their marriage until after the baby was born. Even though the miracle of Jesus’ birth was not really about Joseph, God was working in Joseph’s life as he sacrificed for Mary’s benefit.
When you agree to support God and act as His representative, He will be working in your life as well. Ask Him to show you the miracles He’s doing for someone else and what role you can play and rust that He will be “cleaning out your manger” in the process.
Don’t just play religion with God. Invite Him into your heart, ask Him to use you to bless others, and be open to transformation!