The Lord Be With You Today!

Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about:
His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,
(A pledge of marriage, lasting for about a year,
in those days and in that culture
was tantamount to actually being married,
but excluded physical intimacy.
Their betrothal gave public knowledge
that this man and woman were husband and wife.)

but before they came together,
(Before any physical intimacy as husband and wife had transpired.)
she was found to be with Child through the Holy Spirit.
(The very Son of God and yet born of a woman!
This Child conceived of the Holy Spirit,
and, therefore, fully Mighty God, the Great I AM,
Whose Father was God, and Who also was God,
was also born of a woman,
and, therefore, fully human, fully Man,
truly Emmanuel, God with us!
Even as God created life in Mary, so He creates new life in us today
through the Holy Spirit to meet new situations and new challenges,
to engage in new relationships,
and to live out newly revealed truths that He gives us.
Like Mary, we also are given the high honor of carrying
the very life of Christ within us.)

Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man
and did not want to expose her to public disgrace,
he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
(What a shock this pregnancy would have been to Mary’s espoused husband!
Because Joseph was a good and honorable man,
perhaps so that Mary would not be humiliated and disgraced publicly,
and perhaps even to avoid putting her in danger from death by stoning
if she were to be judged guilty of adultery,
he had purposed to divorce this young woman privately and quietly.
Unlike us often today when we make our perceived grievances public,
Joseph was an honorable man who chose to bear his hurt privately
and protect the woman whom he likely considered unfaithful to him,
Or, perhaps because Joseph was a good and honorable man
who truly believed his betrothed's marvelous revelation,
he decided he could not be the bearer of the father's name
of this remarkable Child Who was fathered by God Himself.
Unlike us often today, when we strive to take honor and prestige to ourselves,
Joseph was so attuned to the Lord's purposes that, to honor God,
he was humbly willing to step out of the relationship with Mary.)

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.”
(What a caring message for Joseph.
The Lord made sure He reached out to this chosen man
to lovingly relieve and reassure him.
Ever mindful of the hurts and distresses of His people,
the Lord gives Joseph personal reassurance and confirmation
that he could trust what was happening in Mary’s life,
and that Joseph was also, in fact, a part of God’s plan,
that He had chosen Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly father,
to parent the Messiah and to nurture and love Him.
In the same way, the Lord communicates to us
His concern and love and care in a myriad of ways
as He walks out His purposes through us,
fully mindful of our confusion, waywardness, and frailties.)

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
“The virgin will be with Child and will give birth to a Son,
and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
(What a promise to us, that God Himself chooses us,
chooses to be with us, chooses to lower Himself to become like us,
chooses to provide salvation and redemption for us!
What a Gift! The greatest Gift of all!)

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took Mary home as his wife.
But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.
And he gave him the name Jesus.
(A man of honor, obedient and submissive to the Lord,
Joseph surrenders to the purposes of God in his life.
Even though he had no way of knowing
what all the dream foretold for him and his life with Mary,
He obeyed, He trusted the Word of the Lord.
In the same way, when we struggle today
with impossible situations in our lives,
we need to listen to the Word of the Lord and to obey His commands,
the promises He has given us and that are clearly delineated,
and then trust Him, as Mary and Joseph did,
for the other parts that He does not choose to reveal to us at this time.)

May the Lord richly bless you this day!

In Christ's love,

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