December 23

“But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid…'” – Matthew 1:20

Joseph is hardly mentioned in the Christmas story, but there is much to be gleaned from him. When he heard that Mary, his betrothed, was with child, the Scripture says he didn’t want to humiliate her, so he thought to break off their marriage quietly. Then an angel appeared and encouraged him – “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”

Think of all the things Joseph might have been afraid of by staying with Mary – fear of their future not looking like he envisioned, fear of gossip, fear of repercussions, fear of failure, fear of too much being asked of him, fear of disruptions of his plans… Joseph might have feared what this miracle would cost them.

How often, when we don’t understand what God is doing, are we tempted to break off from it. How often, when we fear what it might cost us or how it might change our plans or if we will even succeed, do we want to “quietly put it away”?

May we, like Joseph, hear the reassuring words of the Lord today – “Do not be afraid to do the right thing. Do not be afraid to trust and obey My plan, even though it might not all make sense to you right now. Do not be afraid of what the coming days hold. Do not be afraid to accept the responsibility. Do not be afraid…”

May we, like Joseph, get up and do what the Lord has commanded us to do. By faith, in hope, with trust, may we obey.

Prayer: Lord, it is so easy to break off from what You ask of me because of my fear – give me Your word and Your assurance that puts my fears to rest. May I obey You and Your plan no matter what. May I follow Your will, even if I don’t yet fully understand. You are worthy of my trust. Amen.

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