December 12: Prepare (Advent Devotional 2014)

Matthew 1:18-19 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.

advent

Even though we are still over a week until Christmas and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, we have come to the part in the Christmas story that causes us to think about societal views and how we treat people. We are called to be people who show love to everyone, even when it is difficult.

Joseph had every reason to call off his engagement to Mary since she was pregnant with a child who wasn’t his. He even had every right to have her stoned to death or have her go through life as a disgrace as a symbolic “scarlet letter.” He did none of that. The text says, “Joseph…was a righteous man.”

Would this be the same description of you and I? I do not always do what I know needs to be done; and if you’re honest, neither do you. But we have this example of Joseph. Even though he thought about calling off the marriage quietly, he still saved her life.

How can you show love to those you do not enjoy, or those who have caused you embarrassment? This is where we can continue to prepare and consecrate our hearts for the coming Messiah. God is using you, as he used Joseph, a couple thousand years ago, to be an example to the world of the better path we should take when we interact with people, even those who did us wrong.

God, thank you for the opportunities to practice humility and to show love to those who embarrass us or wrong us. Guide us this day. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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