In Keeping with Tradition
We often share Christmas traditions that our families have shared. Each one has very special meaning especially if passed down from generation to generation. I would like to share one that we all should incorporate into our lives, one that has been passed down from generations in the family of God:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Then Joseph her husband being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel which is translated, “God with us”.
Then Joseph being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
When reading the above verses we see that Mary is with child, the Christ child. Joseph desires to protect Mary from the ‘humiliation’ that she may face or possibly a stoning. Joseph also being a just man more than likely desired to protect his name and reputation. So he wants to send Mary away secretly.
Yet, what happens next?
“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
While Joseph was pondering this very thing and angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
~What was Joseph’s response?
He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.
He did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
~Do we do as we are commanded by the Lord?
I am sure that all of us at one time or another have been faced with a difficult decision to make. Being human, we tend to think in more ‘practical’ ways rather than spiritual and really for us as Christians thinking spiritually is thinking practically.
~What do you think causes us to re-act in a ‘practical’ fashion?
Perhaps: Fear of Humiliation
Perhaps: Fear of being Outcast or Shunned
Perhaps: Fear of Offending
Perhaps: Fear of …fill in the blank
Let’s see what 2 Timothy chapter 1 verse 7 says:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
We have not been given a spirit of fear but one of:
-The Power of the Holy Spirit
-The Love of God
-A Sound Mind being focused on Jesus
Just as Mary and Joseph did, let’s focus on Jesus, our Savior.
Upon reading Joseph’s account I couldn’t help but think of the Sunday School song “This Little Light of Mine”. Joseph and Mary both made the decision to be obedient and not hide the Lord.
~Do we tend to ‘hide’ that light under a bushel when in fear?
Hide it under a bushel….NO! We need to shine for Jesus.
Let’s look at Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 5,
“You are a light of the world, A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.”
~What happens when we shine for the Lord?
Others recognize a difference in us from the world. I am reminded of what Michael has mentioned in his teachings of the worst thing that a Christian can be told,
“Oh, I never knew that you were a Christian.”
OUCH! I never want to hear that because I never want to misrepresent my Lord.
The next thing that happens when our light shines,
People experience the Lord through us:
-We can offer them Love through Jesus
-We can offer them Comfort through Jesus
-We can offer them Joy through Jesus
-We can offer them Hope through Jesus
-We can offer them Peace through Jesus
-We can offer them the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
A quote from William Bradford:
“One small candle may light a thousand”
If you think that you cannot make a difference for the Lord, think again. He equips us to do His will. He is everything and gives us everything we need to live a life that is glorifying to Him.
When we live a life for Jesus, the Lord is magnified. Let’s be encouraged to not be swayed by circumstances or feelings but be swayed by His word and His command to let our light shine.
“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven”
So let’s follow Mary and Joseph’s lead to cast our fears away and be obedient to our calling and let that Light shine so the world may come to know the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, we can never, ever thank You enough for sending Your only Son, the precious gift of Jesus to take our place on the cross for our sins. We thank You that You love us So Much, that You are always there for us. Father we ask that we would draw close to You and that we would not let the fears of the world get in the way of being a light for You and showing others Jesus through our lives. We pray for the salvation of the lost and Lord that you would use us to be instrumental in leading others to You. And Father most of all we desire for You to be glorified. Thank You forever. In Jesus most Precious Name we pray…Amen!