Thursday, December 22, 2011

Love All 5 (Matthew 1:18-25)

Matthew 1:18-25

Can you imagine being Joseph in this scenario? A respected, hard worker known by everyone in town to be engaged to a young woman who everyone believes is pregnant with some other man's child. I suspect Joseph and Mary were the subject of much discussion in their small corner of the world. I suspect everyone called Mary nasty names and considered Joseph to be a patsy to still be marrying her.

Everyone knew the child Mary was carrying was not Joseph's. As they were officially betrothed, it was legal for Joseph to have Mary stoned because under the law of the time she was considered to be an adulteress. Yet Joseph decided to call off the wedding quietly and not try to recoup any pride he might have lost in this seemingly calamitous situation.

Joseph truly had to feel God calling him to this marriage to go through with it. There is no other explanation for why he would go forward with the wedding. Joseph showed true love for God when he showed compassion and love to Mary. Joseph's demonstration of love allowed God's love to come into the world.

Christmas comes in two days. No matter where you are in your Christmas preparations, it will arrive. Whether or not you have found ways to worship fully, spend less, give more, or love all, Christmas will come.

Christmas comes because God has made it come, not because we have made it come. Christmas comes because God’s love poured out upon his creation. If Joseph had refused to show love to Mary or if Mary had refused to be God's vessel, God would have found another way to bring Christ into the world.

If you have gotten nothing else out of this Advent devotional, get this: God loves YOU so much that He was willing to do anything to make a way to save YOU.

That is what Christmas is about. If we see Christmas for what it truly is - the celebration of God's amazing love for us - how can we do anything but give grace and mercy to everyone, just as we have received grace and mercy?

Father God, bless this Christmas. Bless our families, our homes, our comings and our goings. Give us an internal understanding of your love for us and let it permeate our hearts and our lives. Help us to be so filled with your love, that we can do nothing but pass it on to others.