The Christmas story (the REAL one, not the movie about the Red Rider BB gun) is absolutely amazing. As Andrew Peterson (one of my favorite artists, and one you should check out!) subtitled his Christmas Album: it’s “The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ.” The key word being “true”. It’s fantastic, phenomenal, mind-blowing…but it’s true.
One of the things we easily forget is that, being true, this story involves real men and women, in real places, with real problems. I was thinking about this today as I read the old, old story in the Gospel of Matthew. As I read it, a few things stuck out to me.
First off, when Joseph found out that Mary was with child, he had in mind to “put her away privately.” Joe was upset. How would you feel? You find out your bride-to-be is expecting, and you know you’re not the dad? I know how I’d feel, and “quiet” is not a word I’d used to describe it. Put in that situation, Joe didn’t react rashly, or quickly. Matthew tells us that “he thought about these things.” He took time to pause, to consider, to wait.
How often do we rush a decision, basing it totally on emotion and the moment, and end up with a hot mess on our hands? Maybe it would be better to take time to pause, to wait on the Lord, to think about things. Be a man like Joe.
Secondly, notice that God sent Gabriel to tell Mary the plan prior to it coming to pass. Joseph is told after the fact. Why? Well, no doubt to help Joe realize what we all need to grasp: God’s ways are not our ways. Here are two people smack in the middle of The Greatest Story Ever Told, and one is given a heads up, and the other is not. Most times, life happens without our consent. God’s plan is rolling out, and we may get a heads up, or we may just be riding the wave. The question is not if we’ll be involved. The question is how will we react when we find ourselves in the middle of it. Joe reacted justly, righteously, humbly, faith-fully. I want to be a man like Joe.
Thirdly, I realized something else: God’s plan was not something that would be easy for Joe, or Mary, to be involved in. It was going to be hard. They were going to be the scandal of the town, the country. They would be talked about, pointed at, scorned. But through this trial, God would be glorified. Through this trial, history would be changed…forever. What about what you’re going through? What about the trials you find yourself in? Are we willing to say “not my will, but Thy will be done?” Are you willing to trust God at His Word? Joe did.
I want to be a man like Joe.