The Fourth Week of Advent: Peace
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. (Mathew 1:18-25)
This is the story of Peace breaking into chaos, of man’s plan gone array, and God showing He is in control.
Mary was teenager found pregnant before she had come together with Joseph. It was scandalous and she could have been stoned to death.
Joseph had dreams I’m sure. Dreams of being a husband and father and it looked as though those plans were shattered. UA Fanthorpe, an English poet wrote this poem and I feel like it really shows us what Joseph must have been thinking.
I am Joseph, carpenter,
Of David’s kingly line,
I wanted an heir, discovered
My wife’s son wasn’t mine.
I am an obstinate lover,
Loved Mary for better or worse.
Wouldn’t stop loving when I found
Someone Else came first.
Mine was the likeness I hoped for
When the first-born man-child came
But nothing of him was me, I couldn’t
Even choose his name.
I am Joseph who wanted
To teach my own boy how to live.
My lesson for my foster son:
Endure. Love. Give.
Joseph had to learn that there was a much bigger story going on in the universe than his own personal plans. Think of it this way… Joseph’s Plan “A” – Get married to a beautiful young girl who has remained pure just for him. Have children. Work hard and live happily ever after.
Joseph had to learn God was in control. Joseph’s Plan “B” – “I can’t marry this girl now that she is pregnant with another man’s child. But I love her still so I won’t add to her shame. I will send her away quietly.” God had another plan. He sends the angel as a messenger giving Joseph instructions and encouragement to take Mary home as his wife. Joseph was not even allowed to name his son! The angel told Joseph to name the child, Jesus.
The families of these two young people must have been scandalized! Can you imagine the conversations (ahem… screaming and yelling) that must have gone on? There could not have been any encouragement for them and yet because of their desire to be obedient to God’s plan they did what he asked in the chaos. Joseph takes us to the heart of the message of the Christian life. He gave up his plans to follow God’s and in surrendering his plans, he found Life.
In this fourth week of Advent, I pray you find Peace in the chaos and Light in the darkness.