A Revelation Response
Each year when I’ve read the Christmas story, I have never really given Joseph much thought. He’s just this guy who’s really good at making wooden tables, leading a donkey, and delivering babies in barns. I’ve identified more with Mary, a woman favored by God, or even the shepherds who were called to celebrate in the birth of Christ. But this Advent season as I’ve studied Joseph’s story, I realize I’ve found an amazing testimony of a life of faith due to God’s revelation.
As I read through Matthew 1, I found myself wondering how the conversation went between Joseph and Mary (or her family) when he found out she was pregnant. Did he feel his dreams turn to ash in that moment? I couldn’t help but relate. I’ve carried my own dreams for so long that it’s easy to view any adversity as a sign that my dreams are dying. That the hopes I’ve had for my life are nothing but silly fantasies.
We know Joseph considered quietly breaking off the engagement. Was he on his knees in the temple seeking God in the midst of this upheaval? Or was he relying on his own strength to make the right decision? I can look back in my own life and see the ways I’ve coped with seasons of uncertainty. How I carefully construct plans to get me through the tough times with minimal damage. If I take action then nothing can hurt me, right?
So I wonder how Joseph felt when his plans were yet again interrupted - this time by an angel in a dream. An angel that revealed God’s plan for Mary and the baby she carried. An angel that told Joseph to take up his dream once more and marry her!
So many times when I seek the Lord, I approach him with my list of struggles. Words are important to me, and I worry that if I somehow don’t say the correct ones I may not receive any answers. I can actually feel my heart and mind straining as I try to hear God’s voice, willing Him to speak. In Joseph’s story I am reminded that I should be waiting for God in a place of stillness.
I find it so fascinating that the angel came in a dream. It means Joseph was not consciously doing anything at that moment in time. He did not will that angel into being. He did not say the correct amount of prayers, or make the perfect amount of sacrifices in the temple. The angel came in God’s timing.
And Joseph said yes! Even though it would be understandable if he felt like he may be getting in over his head. How do you father the Son of the Heavenly Father? But Joseph said yes, and married Mary, taking Jesus as his son. He said yes when the angel reappeared and told him to flee with his family to Egypt, the land where his ancestors had been enslaved. And he said yes when the angel told him to return and settle in Galilee.
In studying Joseph’s response to the revelations of God, I saw an amazing testimony of faith that increased each time he stepped out and said yes. And I remembered the many times that my own faith has increased as I’ve listened for God, heard His voice, and said yes to His calling. And how instead of robbing me of my dreams, He gave me more than I could ever hope for on my own!
So this advent season, I’ve gained a new appreciation for Joseph and his example of faith. The life he lived was not always easy, but by saying yes to the revelation of God, Joseph got to be part of the greatest story ever told. How could I not want the same in my own life? To say yes when revelation comes and then to live in faith as I see that revelation worked out in my life and life of those around me. What an amazing gift from my Heavenly Father!
– Beth “Tap” Coakley
THE Revelation: AN ADVENT MESSAGE
Behold! What revelation have you been given? Consider posting on Facebook about something God has revealed to you, and how you've chosen to respond to it. Use the hashtag “#edgeadvent2016”, tag The Edge Church, and invite a friend to our upcoming Christmas service on Sunday, December 18!