Christmas - Love - Day 22
Lord, I am forever grateful for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ, born as a babe in a manger. May I always adore the Christ child, but see the great love my heavenly father demonstrated by sending his only Son to the cross to die for us all.
Read: Matthew 1:18-21, NIV
18 "This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 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. 21 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.’”
Our devotional writings for this week center around our love for God because of his faithfulness to the promises he made to us! Matthew is one of my favorite gospels because it makes many references of how the coming of Jesus Christ fulfilled ancient prophecy. For almost 400 years since the last prophet spoke of his coming, Jesus came as God’s gift of salvation to the world! Though the Jewish people knew of the coming of messiah, they were not really prepared for his arrival. But why not? The scriptures said he would be born of a virgin, (Matthew 1:23 & Isaiah 7:14). Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem was foretold, (Matthew 2:5-6 & Micah 5:2). The Bible spoke of Jesus’ coming out of Egypt when Herod had finally passed away, (Matthew 2:14-15 & Hosea 11:1) and there were many other references pointing to a savior who had finally come!
In the story today, Joseph’s love and honor for his wife Mary is nothing to be taken lightly. Jewish law was not forgiving of a woman found to be in sexual relations outside of marriage. Joseph, however, was a merciful and compassionate man. Though he must have felt betrayed or mocked by the fact that Mary was now pregnant, he does not appear to be bitter or vengeful. Before he completes a plan to quietly get out of this relationship with Mary and avoid disgrace, an angel of the Lord visits him. When the angel addressed Joseph as, “Son of David,” I believe something ignited in his spirit. Being of the lineage of David, Joseph would have been fully aware that Messiah would come through his family line. To have a supernatural visitation by an angel who reminded Joseph of this lineage was truly powerful! This was God demonstrating his love and faithfulness to Joseph, telling him he would be the earthly father of messiah! What an amazing thing! His love and patience had been rewarded handsomely!
Many times, love is demonstrated in restraint. Though at times you may have been offended or hurt by someone, you can make a more powerful statement by withholding from retaliation. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, “in your anger, do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give the devil a foothold” (NIV). It is not a coincidence that our savior endured great suffering while here on earth, including bearing the sins of the whole world when he went to the cross. Let us, as followers of Christ, walk in grace and compassion for the world, today and every day!
What offense has been committed against you by someone, particularly someone you may love, that has caused you to be angry or irritated? Have you considered the burden it places on “you” as the offended party? Let it go! To shoulder such bitterness for someone, who may or may not realize that they have hurt you, is a great weight. You may find that the person you show such kindness to may come to see Jesus Christ “in you.” Consider demonstrating God’s love today as Joseph did with Mary and extend grace and mercy to those who may least deserve it in your life. But do it with sincere forgiveness and love, for your heavenly father has already forgiven you!
Lord, I thank you that you are a God of provision, hope and promise. May I walk in your ways by demonstrating your love to others everywhere I go today.
Today’s Family Christmas Calendar Activity: Invite someone to Christmas at Pathway
Pick up a calendar at your campus. Learn more at ChristmasAtPathway.com