Unwrapping Christmas • Peace – 12/11/22

Mary and Joseph were engaged. They had plans for their future—marriage, building a home together, raising children. Joseph was a hardworking carpenter and Mary a respected young woman in the community. This couple was God-honoring, they had done everything right. Then, Mary learns that she will conceive through the Holy Spirit and bear a child who will be the promised Messiah. Such an honor, such a shock, such a disruption! When she shares the news with Joseph, he is less than convinced of her story. He knows this isn’t his child and her shame will mark their lives forever. He determines to get out of the relationship quietly and let her deal with the “baby” situation. But then through an angel Joseph realizes her story is true and he signs on for the long haul, a life journey that could not be imagined. We cannot fathom how Mary and Joseph were treated. They were likely outcasts, shamed and ostracized by their families and community. Then to make their situation even more difficult, they are required to make an arduous journey to Bethlehem for a census decreed by Caesar. While there, Mary gives birth in a stable, the most uncomfortable and inconvenient setting. Two truths prevail as we study their plight: 1) Mary and Joseph both said “yes” to God. They trusted God’s purpose, though they didn’t understand His plan. 2) Their disappointment was a divine appointment. They must have been confused, wondering what on earth God was doing, but God’s purpose was being fulfilled.

Scriptures – Luke 1:30-31, 38, 2:10-14; Matthew 1:18-22; Proverbs 19:21

Verse – But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find the child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:10-14) 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 for their sins.” (Mt 1:20-22)

Thought – Do you ever feel that God has let you down? Do you wonder what God is doing while you are inconvenienced, upset and miserable? You had great plans…maybe for marriage, children, a career, a house, or even a vacation or something special. Things don’t go as planned and you are disappointed and disillusioned. Jesus came to earth with the promise of peace on those whom he favors. Good news! Great joy! Yet, Mary and Joseph’s plans were dismantled one by one as they said “yes” to God’s plan. In all the disruption that resulted for them, we know that their chaos, confusion, and disappointment was a divine appointment. God fulfilled his purpose through their lives. Salvation came to earth through Jesus. When you live by faith, you can be assured that some of life’s greatest disappointments might actually be divine appointments. You don’t have to understand everything to trust Him, love Him, worship Him. God’s purpose will prevail. His purpose is always good and always perfect.

Questions – Describe a plan you had for your life that was disrupted. What happened? How did you deal with it? What did saying, “yes” to God mean for Mary and Joseph? What does saying, “yes” to God mean for you? What plans have been set aside so that God’s purpose can prevail in your life? 

Response – Write down the main plans and goals you have. Give them to God’s will. Strive toward your God-given goals, but we willing to be disrupted for God’s purpose.

Prayer – Dear Lord, I give my plans to you. You know the desires of my heart, but I want more than anything to allow your purpose to be fulfilled in and through me. Forgive my selfishness. Give me a sacrificial heart that is open and willing to allow your work in me, no matter the cost. Thank you for all those who have said “yes” to you and paved the way for my salvation. In Jesus Name I pray, amen.

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