While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, â€œJoseph, descendant of David, donâ€™t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.â€
All this happened to bring about what the Lord had said through the prophet: â€œThe virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and they will name him Immanuel,â€ which means â€œGod is with us.â€ Â Â Â Â Matthew 1:20-23 (NCV, my emphasis)
Two babies have been born in the last week in our community of family and friends. They are so beautiful and welcomed with much love. Their arrival has brought another perspective to these Scripture passages.
Joseph was given a great gift of faith and steadfastness. He chose to obey God instead of concerning himself with the traditions of his time and the gossip of his community. He took on the role of protector against the power of the Roman government and led his new family into exile. And he did it all in faith and trust in God, not seeing or understanding God’s plan that the Messiah would be born this way.
Do any of us look at our newborn child and know and understand God’s plan for their life? Do we grasp the potential of this child in God’s Kingdom? If we consider our own lives, we should bow in humble, holy fear!
I was born in a small town in the Midwest to parents who did not have an opportunity to go beyond 10th grade in their education. I wasn’t popular or beautiful but God had a plan for me. He gave me gifts and passion for what He wanted me to do in His Kingdom. I weep and bow my head when I think back on what Jesus has allowed me to be in His plan. Me? And there is still more to come!
As I pray for my children and grandchildren (not just my biological ones), I pray that they will have ears to hear and eyes to see God using them and be willing to obey and trust Him for all the details. I pray they will desire God’s approval more than the applause of the world. I pray that their treasures are found in God’s bank where they will never be poor.
The life of a disciple of Jesus Christ is not easy. It requires intentional spiritual exercise and a healthy diet of Living Bread (the Word) and Water (the Spirit). It needs a community that will mentor and support them as they grow and take their place as workers in God’s Kingdom. And that isn’t at 18 or 21. Didn’t Jesus say that my faith should be like that of a child? So as a parent I should be watching to see what gifts God has given my children and encourage them to use those gifts to serve and magnify God to others. In my own children, my daughter has gifts of faith and joy and my son has the gifts of compassion and encouragement. They use those gifts every day as naturally as breathing. I look at these two new babies just born and wonder with expectation what God has already given to them!
God is with us. He is not a spectator in my life. He is in my life. He is my life. All that I am, all that may be seen as â€œgoodâ€ in me, is there because of Immanuel, God with me.
Mary Did You Know written by Mark Lowery and sung by Clay Aiken