An Advent Mini-Minute with Pam
Week Two: Mary and Joseph, Obedience.
Sometimes I think there is too much “ME” in me. Do you ever feel that way? Especially at Christmas–when we want so much to be Jesus-centered–we can tend to get ME centered. Overwhelmed. Weary. Busy.Distracted. Bossy. And likely focusing on how everything affects ME personally? Too busy to sit and just BE with our Lord, pondering the significance of all that transpired around His birth. Think of it, God came down. From Heaven. From royalty, to a human birth experience. Powerful! A deep and stunning, love that knows no bounds!
I am right at this moment sitting in a temptation to condemn myself. What about you? My love is so often conditional. And I get busy with tasks. And a bit grumpy.This is all proof that I have not even BEGUN to grasp the details of what my Savior experienced to PROVE His love for me. For you. So, I am so grateful that…
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Mary and Joseph
Yes, sadly, there is too much ME in me. And I have a feeling you are right there with me on this! But…astoundingly, Mary and Joseph were NOT full of themselves. There was NOT too much ME in them. Think of all they must have experienced. Gossip. Criticism. Fear. The vast unknown. They never waivered. The angel spoke and they believed and obeyed. NO ONE had EVER walked that path before. And NO ONE has walked it since then, either!
They knew the Scriptures
Evidently—in view of their responses to their angel visits—they both knew the Scriptures well. What do you think you would have done? Have YOU ever had an encounter with an angel? Would you believe and obey like they did?
When the angel said she would bear the Christ child, her only question was “HOW? How was that even possible, since she was a virgin?”
Joseph believed the angel that Mary was NOT unfaithful to him, but rather had been CHOSEN to be the virgin mother of the Lord. Joseph did not question. These were amazing young people! Even with their pure faith, it must have been difficult living in their community. Do you think other girls were jealous of her? Or do you think maybe no one even believed their story? Put yourself into the story and IMAGINE what it was like. They were real people.
“Now 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.”
Matthew l:18 (NKJV)
Who are Mary and Joseph?
Are we doing a disservice by only making Christmas about a sweet baby in the manger, in a clean stable, surrounded by nice clean animals and shepherds worshiping the newborn baby? I think of a favorite book, also made into a movie “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. Every year I read the children’s book and watch the movie. It reminds me how we get it all wrong even performing the Christmas pageant. Pageant preparations and practices are often full of tension. Every mother wants her daughter to play the part of Mary and no one wants to be the angels. Each one wants to have a MAIN CHARACTER part. We portray it as “romantic” and lovely and sweet, when it was anything BUT that! It was difficult in every sense of the word.
They were a poor couple, likely experiencing scorn in their community. Then, leaving their family and all that was familiar, they went to an UNfamiliar place. Giving birth in a smelly barn. No running water. No central heat. No family to give comfort and support. No medication to dull the pain of delivery.
Our Savior came TO us. From Heaven. Mary and Joseph sacrificed all their dreams of what we call a “normal” life.
“But 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 you Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit’ She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”
Week Two. Obedience. Bethlehem
The angel quotes from Isaiah 7:14 to Joseph–that the baby will be named Jesus. Immanuel. God with us. Joseph believed the angel and married Mary immediately. And they obeyed and named the baby Jesus.
Two young people followed their call. Through their obedience, the way was prepared for Christ to bless us. The day Jesus was born was the day Immanuel happened. He is most definitely God with us. Do you believe that? I hope you do.
Why DID Christmas happen?
“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin…the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
I John 2:5, 8
“…being fully persuaded (assured) that what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”
Evangelist Vance Havner
“We are to do more than just be ready. We are to be expectant.”
“Eternity waits for our response. Don’t lose this opportunity to make Christmas different this year. How sad if Christmas is just another busy time of year, and we miss the “REASON FOR THE SEASON”. May the Spirit of God use these words to open your eyes afresh to the glories of Christ and give you a new taste of your indestructible joy.”
Immanuel arrived that day. Pray with me.
Father, give us the attitude of expectancy. Don’t let this be an ordinary Christmas. Help us to seek you differently this year. Better. Focused.Thank you for this opportunity to reevaluate the way we enter into this Christmas season. May we look at Christmas through fresh eyes. To remember that Christmas is about OBEDIENCE. Being called to a higher ground of faith and trust in You, our Creator God. You sacrificed so much Yourself, Father. You allowed Your Son to suffer through living as a human person, with all the sufferings and sorrow and even joy that brings.
Lord Jesus, help us to step up into the responsibilities we have each day with obedience and joy. And to keep a proper perspective. This world is not our home. We are only passing through. Bless the work of our hands and bless others through us.
Holy Spirit, in those places where we can represent our Jesus, our Savior, speak to us and give us wisdom. Speak through us so that others will be drawn to Him. Immanuel. God with us. Just like you did for Mary and Joseph, Father. May we, too, be as trusting and obedient. Give us a hunger for Your Word. And for a personal relationship with You.
This week’s verse
“The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
Do you need encouragement in your walk with God?
Awaiting His shout,
Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor