In this Christmas season, give your feelings of worry or fatigue to God, and focus on what he gives back.
Read Matthew 1:18-25
 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from 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.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow does God prepare Joseph to raise Jesus?
Mary’s pregnancy causes Joseph to consider quietly divorcing her. But God tells him in a dream that Mary’s baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit and he should stay with her (18-20). The baby is to be called Jesus because “he will save his people from their sins” (21). In Luke’s account we read of the angel Gabriel telling Mary that her son will be great and be called “Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). So Joseph and Mary both must be wondering what sort of baby they are going to have. What can this all mean? Maybe they are worried about what will be expected of them. For centuries the Jews have been expecting a warrior Messiah to arise and lead them out of oppression and into a new era of God’s blessing. Matthew quotes Isaiah’s prophecy (22,23) to show that it has come true. But, contrary to what the Jews were expecting, it has come true in the form of a newborn baby called Jesus, who is Immanuel–God with us. Whatever our expectations this Christmas, and however they turn out, we can know that God’s presence is in our midst.
How have you seen God act in an unexpected way recently? Be alert for signs of his hand moving in your life today.
Thank God for the gift of Jesus. Worship quietly in your own way as you think about what Christmas means.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.