18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Today’s Devotional Reading
I spent my first Thanksgiving in the service pulling KP duty and it was a very long and tiring day. I was in basic training when I was offered (that’s a joke) this wonderful opportunity to serve my fellow soldier. As I recall we had to be in the kitchen at 3am to start getting ready for the first breakfast and we stayed until about 8pm, long after supper was over. We had tons of food to prepare that day. We didn’t actually cook, as mess sergeants do that, but we had to do all the other stuff like crack eggs and put them in a bowl, peel potatoes etc. In between meals we washed dishes and pots and pans and then we got to mop and wax the floors and get everything ready for the next meal.
Well, after supper while we were slaving away with the dishes and pots and pans I got into one of my moments of mischief. Simply stated, I started a food fight. Pretty soon everyone was slinging food scraps all over the place and at each other. As I turned and slung a handful of sweet potatoes a Colonel walked into the room and the sweet potatoes hit him smack in the face. There was silence before the Colonel yelled “who is in charge here? I want to know who is in charge here!“ There was more silence as no one wanted to take responsibility for being in charge.
Life can be like that you know. If we are honest with ourselves we have to admit that we like being in charge. We like being the boss. We like being the captain of our own ship. And then chaos enters our life and just like the Colonel in the kitchen we yell out, “who is in charge here?“ Suddenly, our ship that we want to be the captain of seems like a ship without a rudder as we float and drift on the sea of life.
I think that is sort of how it was for Joseph. He was a good simple man who wanted to settle down and get life started with a family of his own. He was in love with Mary and planned to take her as his wife. They were going through the long engagement period that was required of them and the wedding day looked on the horizon and then chaos entered his life…… his beloved Mary was pregnant and he knew that he wasn’t the dad. Chaos indeed, and he must have been shouting, “who is in charge here!“ And then he found out: God is in charge and God is the captain of this ship.
Through a dream God revealed this and much more to Joseph and his life would never be the same. Peace and assurance and courage and grace all entered into the heart of Joseph. With the knowledge that God is “in charge here,“ Joseph was able to move on with his life, accepting all that God had planned.
We too can do that you know. When chaos enters our life through fear, discouragement, disappointment or pain or any number of other forms of chaos, as believers we can know that God is in charge here. That’s what Christmas means. “Immanuel. God with us.” And regardless what we might be going through we know that God “will never leave us or forsake us.” That is peace, not an absence of conflict but the presence “of the Prince of Peace.”
Who is in charge here? Are you still the captain of your own ship or have you turned over control to the One who is really in control?