Joseph

joseph-maryWe don’t know much about Joseph, but I think it’s safe to say he would have been terrible on a T.V. reality show.  Think about it.  His girlfriend was pregnant, and knowing the child was not his own, he could have slandered her name via social media (literally social), drunk too much wine, and wrecked a perfectly good donkey cart.  Instead, he planned to quietly distance himself from her in a way that would maintain the dignity of everyone involved.  No T.V. ratings there.

Once Joseph understood what was going on, he trusted both God and Mary, and did exactly what the angel told him to do.  Over time, he proved he was the perfect father for Jesus, traveling long distances and making wise, careful decisions to keep his child safe.  Going out of one’s way for the sake of another?  Thoughtful decision making?  Again, no ratings.

I am thankful for the example we have in Joseph, and I am thankful for his role in the Christmas story and beyond.  I’m going to make it a point to follow his example more often and to make it known when others do the same.  I hope you’ll join me.

I hope you are finding great happiness in this week of joy.  If so, please share!

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Mary

mary-nativThough she was afraid and a little doubtful at first, Mary quickly embraced her role in what we now call the Christmas story.  Once it was all explained, her simple reply was, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.”  (Luke 1:38)

The author of Luke goes on to tell us that Mary sang praises to God, recognizing that He blesses those who are humble, those who have little, and those who serve Him.  Perhaps this example is just one more gift delivered to us through Mary.

Generations have called her blessed, and in turn, we have been blessed for generations.  Glory!

 

 

Angels

angelBefore the journey to Bethlehem, before the lack of adequate lodging, before the manger or the shepherds or the wise men, there was an angel speaking to a young woman.  This is where our Advent story really begins.  This is where the wonder and the mystery and the waiting all start.  I began my Advent observance by placing an angel in the manger scene.

It was the angel, Gabriel, who delivered the good news to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38), but angels appear throughout the Christmas story.  When we think of the angel in the manger scene, we most often consider the one who appeared to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20).  An angel spoke to Joseph as well (Matthew 1:18-24).

If you read about each of these angelic encounters, you will notice a theme.  Each time the angels speak, they say, “Do not be afraid.”  In each case, there are plenty of reasons to be fearful.  It is difficult to imagine how we might react to finding ourselves in any of these situations.  But each time, there is someone there to offer reassurance.  “Do not be afraid.”

That same reassurance is offered to us today, and we, in turn, can offer it to others.  That’s really what HOPE is all about, right?