Advent Devotion for December 14

By Scott Bone

Read Matthew 1:18-23

Imagine the headlines:

Scandal–Mary is pregnant, claims the baby is the Son of God.
Will Joseph divorce her? 

The pressure on Joseph must have felt insurmountable, as he probably heard from his closest friends that he shouldn’t follow through with the marriage because of his fiancee’s infidelity. Making a life-altering decision is not simple, but he decides not to marry the love of his life, not to start their life together with another’s child. As scripture says, Joseph would “divorce her quietly” because he did not want to humiliate Mary in public.

Oh, the heartache of not knowing what to do.  Then the dream and most importantly the subsequent obedience.  God wants us to be open to His word, no matter how we hear it, but equally important is to be faithful to the calling.  God will use us to accomplish His mission of love and salvation, but we too must not be afraid to face the challenge.

God does not promise it will be easy, but He wants us to mature in His word and strength, so we overcome the power of public opinion, so that His vision is fulfilled.  God is with us.  Joseph did not divorce Mary, and they went on to have more children.  In fact one child, James, wrote the New Testament book of James.  While Joseph is mentioned a couple more times, this is all we really know of him. But what a way to be remembered–faithful to the calling.

Experiencing the birth of a child is likely one of the most incredible miracles.  Watching the changes in my wife’s body for 9 months and never comprehending the everlasting effect these children’s arrivals would have on our life.  Then they were born, and we were blessed.

When I held each child, I didn’t understand the blessing God provided us and I didn’t understand what being a father would involve, but I held each one with complete joy.  I think after all these years of watching them grow into young adults and being proud of who they are becoming–not only as people, but also as children of God–I still don’t understand all that is involved, and I worry about my impact on their lives.

As the leader of my house, I don’t think I’m ever doing enough to imitate Christ, and I definitely don’t feel like I’m always faithful to my calling.  I have learned not to beat myself up too badly, to continually try to improve when the next moment arises (which feels all the time), but as a man of Christ, I know I will be held accountable.

From one father to all the fathers who are reading this with their families: know that we have a great example set by Joseph and that you simply taking the time to read this Scripture verse will change their lives–forever.  How do you want to be remembered?

We pray: Dear Father, maker of heaven, earth, and all of our lives, we come to You in prayer to ask forgiveness for not being the leaders You call us to be: spiritual leaders to ensure our families will sit with You in heaven, faithful to the responsibility of following Your calling on our lives.  We want to mature and be faithful, so please continue to provide the opportunity to grow in You, so our families will always know the salvation found through Your Son Jesus.  And all the children of God said, Amen!