Advent Reading For Today: December 8th

MATTHEW 1:18-21

18Now 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. 19Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20But 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. 21And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT

In this story about the birth of the Messiah, we see Joseph’s godliness under difficult circumstances, his inability to perceive good, and God’s mysterious use of “unlikely” things. Joseph made a worthy attempt to start a family by finding an exemplary young woman, Mary, and becoming engaged to her. Although he behaved honorably, she was suddenly found to be pregnant! How could Mary have “done” this to him? Imagine Joseph’s disappointment and humiliation! How could he marry this woman and bring the apparent shame of infidelity to himself and to his family?

Most people in Joseph’s situation would feel a need to get even and to assert his own innocence by punishing Mary.  But we see that the heavenly Father, in His wisdom selected a godly man to act as an earthly father for the Son. Even under the duress of a broken engagement and a sullied reputation, we see Joseph exercising self-control and concern for Mary.

But even with his good disposition, Joseph could not see what was happening or how he should respond. It was only by God’s grace in sending an angel that Joseph could begin to understand that the very one who he thought was unclean and dishonorable was actually the incarnation of righteousness and honor. The one, who appeared to be illegitimate, was the only true Son. The one, who looked like Joseph’s potential ruin, would become not only his Savior, but the world’s Savior.

—Pastor David Givler, Christ Covenant Church, San Antonio, Texas

PRAYER

Our gracious heavenly Father, we thank You that Your good will toward Your children is so pervasive that even bad things turn out to be for our blessing. Send the Holy Spirit to us as you sent the angel to Joseph so that, like him, we can comprehend Your goodness. Help us to have faith like his so that we would be stable and selfless under trying circumstances. And though we are small, weak, and sinful; we pray that You would be pleased to use us as unlikely vessels to glorify yourself. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.

ADVENT APPLICATION

Discuss with your family how God likes to accomplish His will through weak and despised things like a stuttering Moses who would lead Israel out of slavery, a blind man who would be healed, and a little child of inexplicable origin who would save mankind from its sin. If God works through these types of things, should we expect Him to work through our weaknesses? If He does work through our weaknesses, then how should we behave when confronted with difficulties and suffering? What do we need to help us to see God’s goodness and to behave properly at difficult times?

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Posted on December 8, 2011, in Christian Living Blog Entries. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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