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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
December 18, 2004

     The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn't know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.
     While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God's angel spoke in the dream: "Joseph, son of David, don't hesitate to get married. Mary's pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God's Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus - 'God saves' - because he will save his people from their sins." This would bring the prophet's embryonic sermon to full term:
    Watch for this - a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
    They will name him Emmanuel (Hebrew for "God is with us").
     Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God's angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25 (Message*)

Quite a story. It makes me wonder if I had been in Joseph's shoes, what would I have done? Would I have accepted that what came to me by way of a dream was from an angel of the Lord, and that I should believe the unlikely story of this seemingly disgraceful circumstance actually being the fulfillment of scripture (Isaiah 7:14)?

Joseph, who had been looking for a graceful way to get out of marrying this woman, believed. And he did exactly what he was told to do in his dream.

It won't come to one of us to be part of the physical birth of the Savior. However, we could get a message from God that something that might seem to us to look rather unsavory is actually a blessing from God. In such a circumstance, would we put aside our preconceptions and accept what God was telling us about it? Would we, like Joseph, believe and do exactly as God directed?

Bill Samuel

* The Message version ©2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2004 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Friday, 24-Dec-2004 16:21:18 EST