He Never Saw an Angel!
by Linda Fode
19 January 2009« Previous Day
Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit’.
Christmas with all the joy and wonder has passed for another year. The story is pregnant with promise, possibilities and angels. Twenty- five verses tell us of Zacharias’ encounter with Gabriel giving him details not only of the birth of his son John but specific instructions on how to parent the boy. Thirteen verses describe Mary’s angelic encounter. Another thirteen detail the story of shepherds, angels and glorious events in the night sky. Twelve verses document a new star and the wise men who followed that star.
Here in the northern hemisphere we are in the season of deep winter; cold, grey days sprinkled occasionally with bright blue skies and trees that sparkle with frost. The frost gives an illusion of warmth.
Joseph, a pivotal figure in the birth of Jesus sees no angels. The best he got was a dream about an angel speaking to him. In my economy, a real angel outweighs a dream about an angel every day of the week.
Was it just illusion? Was it wishful thinking wanting Mary’s explanation for her pregnancy to be true? Do you hear his pain, his confusion, his grief at what could have been? Can you watch with him as he tries to make sense of this unbearable situation?
And yet, he believed and obeyed. He took Mary as his wife. He raised the little boy that wasn’t his. He probably faced criticism, rejection, maybe even mocking over the years because of these decisions of faith and obedience. Tradition tells us that Joseph died before Jesus began his public ministry. Joseph never knew for sure that the beliefs on which he staked his life were true but he lived consistently in simple faith and obedience.
For many of you Joseph’s story is your story. You have staked your lives on one dream God gave or a quiet word deep in your spirit. There have been no glory stories of visions, or angels or prophetic words from famous people. You like Joseph have lived a life of quiet faith and obedience. In Watching Your Life the Angels Rejoice!
Prayer: Help me Lord to be steadfast in doing those things you have shown me to do – and not to fear the thoughts or words of others, but to trust your Word and the encouragement of your inner voice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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