BY: ANGELA JOHNSON
Have you ever had a dream so vivid you felt it was real?
A few years ago, I was in the midst of an extremely stressful situation, and I’d repeatedly dream that my teeth were falling out. Then, there was the time I endured a major life change and, for weeks, I would dream of losing my belongings in some fashion. I’d misplace my wallet and would spend the entire night trying to locate it. But, after each dream, I would wake the following morning with my teeth still in my mouth and my wallet safely tucked away in my bag.
In Matthew 1, we read about the foretelling of the birth of Jesus. However, in verses 18-20 we find Joseph, the betrothed husband of Mary, in his own extremely stressful situation.
Matthew 1:20 says, “As he considered;” in Greek, this is the word enthymēthentos. It means, “a passionate supposing or surmising in a person’s mind, producing fervent, inner cogitation.” Have you ever worried about something so much that it began to consume your thoughts? I can imagine Joseph’s mindset when he laid his head down to sleep that night.
He was in deep, inner turmoil.
You see, the source of his angst was that his betrothed wife, Mary, had been “found to be pregnant” (Matt. 1:18). In their culture, they were legally and permanently man and wife, but for the period of the betrothal they did not come together physically. So, Joseph knew it wasn’t his child.
Because he was an honorable man, Joseph had resolved to break off the engagement privately. He wanted to spare her disgrace and shame (Matt 1:19). In fact, Levitical law stipulated it’d be within his right for Mary to be put to death (Deut. 22:23-24). Even when personally wronged, he was sensitive to someone else’s shame; he wanted to spare her life.
But, Joseph couldn’t quiet his waking thoughts enough so, God sent an angel to reveal His plan while he was sleeping. The messenger from Heaven continues, “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” (Matt. 1:20). In one dream, every one of Joseph’s concerns were answered: don’t be afraid, Mary wasn’t unfaithful, it was a supernatural conception but, you will be the earthly father.
When Joseph woke up, he knew his vivid dream was a reality.
He obeyed the instructions and trusted God. In turn, God trusted him with His precious Son — Jesus, the One to save us from our sins (Matt.1:21).
Joseph did not always know every detail, but he acted in faith, knowing God would guide him. Let this part of the Christmas story be a reminder that: integrity is honored with great responsibility, mercy always triumphs, and God will always provide an answer to our greatest problems.
Joseph’s life is evidence that our willingness to trust God affects everything. His story also reminds us that our profession of faith requires something of us. James 2:17 says, “Faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless” (NLT).
This advent season, let us be like Joseph and walk out our profession of faith. Let us be obedient, even if it results in humiliation and disgrace before others.
Let us have integrity, even when no one is watching.
Let us be merciful, even when it’s undeserved.
Let us show Jesus, the Savior of the world, through our lives.
Are you withholding forgiveness from anyone in your life?