Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Advent - Joseph's Angel

Matthew 1:20-23:  "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 from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”)."

Here he was. This angel of the Lord.  At his post in Heaven.  Then God calls.  Calls him to deliver a message.  A message to a simple man.  A message that would forever change the course of this man's life.  A message to wild to be believed.

So the angel takes a trip to earth and appears to Joseph in a dream.  The message?  Don't be afraid...  To take Mary as your wife even though she's already pregnant.  Even though your community may shun you.  Even though your earthly mind cannot comprehend this.  Even though you will be raising a child who is not yours.

I wonder if the angel was worried.  Worried the message wouldn't be accepted. Worried Joseph might object.  Worried he wouldn't use the right words to deliver the message.

Of course, I have no idea if angels worry.  I kind of doubt it.  But I do.  I'm sure some of you do.

God calls us.  To share a meal.  To give some money.  To volunteer to help someone in need.  To witness.  To serve or give or do beyond what our minds can comprehend.  And we worry...

What if the message isn't accepted?  What if the recipient objects?  What if I mess up and don't do it right?

But, like the angel sent to Joseph, God gives us all we need.  It's in those moments of doubt and worry and weakness that God can use us the most.  When we have lost all sense of "I've got this...I can do it."  And He calls.  And He sends.  Sends us to minister to a hurting world.  To share a message that seems to good to believe.  And we have a choice...

We can surrender to the worry and doubt and fear and turn away.  We can give up to our thoughts that "someone else will do it" or "surely God would understand that I just can't." We can walk away from an opportunity to relieve suffering, to offer a kind word, to share what we've been given.  

Or, like the angel, we can go.  We can surrender to God and answer His call.  We can tell the fear and doubt to go away.  We can trust that God would not call us to do what He hasn't equipped us to do.  And we can know that He will provide all we need to do what He has asked.

So you have a choice.  This Christmas, surrounded by a hurting world full of pain and need that can seem overwhelming...will you go?  Will you serve?  Will you help?  Will you believe that YOU can make a difference?  Will you believe that no good deed is too small, no act of kindness goes unnoticed?  Like the angel, will you choose to go and share and love? 

Or will you choose to walk away?  Choose to miss out on a blessing?  Choose to let someone go without?  

Can you imagine if the angel told God no?  What if he said, "I'm too busy" or "I have other things I need to do first?"  What a blessing he would have missed!  But he chose to go when God called.  He chose to share the Good News with Joseph and assure him of his part in the plan.  He chose to comfort and encourage and love.  

This Christmas take time to look around.  To see the needs around you.  Stop a few moments in your busy life to make time for someone else.  Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season and see that the only gifts that truly matter are those that are from the heart, those that encourage and lift others up, those that flow from a heart surrendered to God, those that give to those in need, those that show the love of Jesus.  Don't miss out on a blessing God places in your path.  

Learn a lesson from the angel sent to Joseph.  When God calls, go.  And remember what the angel told Joseph.  "Don't be afraid...all this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said..."  

Be a blessing to someone this Christmas!

1 comment:

Jennifer Hughes said...

Thank you for this, Lori! The Lord knew what I needed to see today! I have a problem with telling people "No", and made it my New Year's Resolution. However, it's important to always remember that we should always do what God wants us to do and the word "No" should never be used with Him. :)