Responding In The Right Way
Greetings Summit Faith Family!
The Christmas event is amazing because of the unique things that occurred, things that have never occurred before or since, specifically the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, there were other events associated with Christmas that are amazing in their own right. Angels appearing to shepherds, providing announcements and singing praises, and Magi traveling from the east, guided by a single star to the birthplace of our Savior are just a few of those remarkable occurrences.
The faith of Mary and Joseph are especially remarkable. Mary would have experienced significant hardships during and after the birth of Christ. Traveling a great distance on a donkey during the last few weeks of her pregnancy and having to flee to Egypt shortly afterwards would not have been the most pleasant of circumstances. And yet her faith resulted in her being found in favor with God. Joseph, her fiancé and caregiver, would have also had his fair share of challenges. Joseph handled those with strength and courage. It should not surprise us that scripture records Joseph as being a righteous man.
The Christmas story provides the perfect backdrop for learning how righteous people respond when facing challenging circumstances. Matthew records the righteous response of Joseph: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he has considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:18-21)
If Joseph had not been a kind and compassionate person, Jesus could have been killed before He took His first breath as God incarnate. The cultural standard for that time dictated those found in adultery were to be stoned to death. Joseph knew he had not been physical with Mary and yet she was pregnant. Remember, the Immaculate Conception has only occurred one time in history. There was no precedence to cause Joseph to believe anything beyond the fact that Mary had been unfaithful. Furthermore, how many of us give serious credence to our dreams. Most of us discard them as fantasy from our minds which do not reflect reality. Yet, the faith of this man resulted in his obedience to a vision from God in a dream. Joseph did not need a vision appearance from an angel while he was awake, a dream was sufficient.
Certainly Joseph must have endured his own humiliation and degradation for those in his community for the position he took in remaining faithful to Mary after she was found to be pregnant. Why? Because he was a righteous man whose faith led to his obedience. Joseph continued to demonstrate that faith as he fled with his young family to Egypt (certainly not a time of relaxation and vacation) and his return to Nazareth, each time receiving instructions through a dream. The faith of this young man is another example of the amazing circumstances surrounding the birth of our Savior. The faith, kindness, obedience, perseverance, and patience Joseph demonstrated are convincing proofs that he was a righteous man. It seems as though it would be worthwhile to have as a goal the righteousness Joseph demonstrated. How will we know we are approaching that level of righteousness; when we are as faithful, kind, obedient, and patient as Joseph.
NOTE: Now that the Christmas season is in full swing, we have entered a season of celebration and special events at Summit. This coming weekend marks one of the biggest events of the season, our annual Christmas musical celebration. It is not too late to plan on joining us on Saturday and Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. This celebration provides a perfect opportunity for members of our faith family to reach out and invite prospective guests and future members of our faith family to join us.