Lessons From a Familiar Story

From the time I was a little girl I have heard the Christmas story. What child isn’t awed by the sight of the little baby Jesus being placed in a manger bed with animals feeding around Him, shepherds adoring Him, and Mary and Joseph caring for and loving Him? The Son of God, come to earth…what a precious story. Sometimes, however, the familiarity can keep us from seeing it anew and learning truths as an adult.

This morning I read Matthew 1:18-25. I read it slowly imagining in my heart the story as it unfolds in Scripture. Verses 18—20 read: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” The Lord reminded me of three things from these verses.
  1. God knows our thoughts. It was while Joseph was thinking about how he could put Mary away privately that God sent the angel to speak to Joseph. While we’re imagining how to fix a problem we can be sure that God’s knows what we’re scheming and He always has a better solution. We can wait on Him to “fix it.”
  2. God will send assurances to guide us when we’re seeking to do His will. This passage tells us that Joseph was a just man; He was right with God and I believe this means that He wanted to do what was right before His God. While he was seeking to do the right thing the angel spoke to him to tell him what he needed to do. When we’re right with God and desiring to do His will we can rest assured that He will show us what to do. Sometimes He will send people (pretty sure it won’t be in the form of an angel!), to encourage us and give us godly counsel. Sometime a passage of Scripture will give us direction. Sometimes God allows circumstances to come up that steer us in the right way in order to accomplish His will.
  3. God values the family unit. Why would God care if Joseph left Mary? The conception of the Christ Child was of the Holy Ghost; not by Joseph. Of course we understand that Joseph was in the line of David as was prophesied, but I believe this also shows us that God wanted the Christ child in a family with a mother and father. We need to value the family like God does. Our world today is very casual about the family. They form family units with two mothers, two fathers, or only one parent – so what? But this is not God’s plan. I know there are always extenuating circumstances where a parent didn’t want the home to be broken, but the other partner has left; but I’m referring to the times when there’s no concern about this happening. God created the family. Your family is important to Him and He wants your children to have the blessing of being nurtured and trained by both its parents.

The Christmas story is precious to children, but it’s just a precious to us as adults. Oh that we can read the Scriptures about His birth and find fresh and relevant truths for our lives today.

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