Opening Prayer. Give me eyes to comprehend the mysteries of your word and work in my life this Advent, O Lord. Keep me from resisting those tight spaces where I am shaped and formed into a disciple of Jesus. Amen.
Scripture. Matthew 1:19-20.
Mary’s husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Unreasonable Hope. From Rev. Daniel Harrell
Everybody knew Mary’s baby wasn’t Joseph’s (and nobody was going to believe God did it). Mary ends up giving birth in a feed trough not because there was no room at the Holiday Inn. Ancient Middle Eastern hospitality would have never permitted turning away a pregnant relative (Bethlehem was Joseph’s hometown). But neither would Joseph’s kin be disgraced by this scandal. They had a reputation to protect. You can squeeze into our house, they allowed, but go sleep with the other animals. You’d think the worse was over once Jesus was born, but then they take him to be circumcised only to have their rabbi warn that their son will end up causing the failure of many in Israel. How’s that for a christening? Your child will invite opposition and rejection by many. Oh, and Mary, a sword will pierce your soul too. And yet Mary still blessed the Lord. And though we don’t read it, I’m sure Joseph did too.
Christian hope is unreasonable. It requires believing in spite of the evidence—and then waiting and watching the evidence change. Hope lets us glimpse reality as God sees it. Faith infuses every aspect of life. Mercy abounds. Obedience is joy. Fear is gone.
Questions for Consideration.
Closing Prayer. May your grace dispel my fears, O Lord, and establish in my heart a faith that waits for your way to open up to all you intend for my life. Amen.