Disruptive Decisions

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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. 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. 

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. 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.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:18-23

Insight

If the holidays aren't already chaotic enough, I decided to add to the madness by getting a puppy for our family. Talk about a beautiful disruption; this fluff ball turned our world upside down. How can something so small have that much energy? You never realize how cluttered your house is until a puppy comes into play and starts chewing everything in sight.

For all the headaches that come with potty and crate training, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat when I watch my two daughters overjoyed as they cuddle with her. Another fun benefit of having a puppy is watching it try to wrap its' puppy mind around things: remote controls, mirrors, stairs, to name a few. She'll stop in her tracks and caulk her head to the side confused and bewildered. She'll get antsy, bark and sometimes get frightened over not understanding how things work. 

When I read today's passage focusing on how Joseph reacted to Mary being pregnant, I imagine him responding the same way to the news as a puppy would. With a titled head and scrunched up eyes, he'd say, "Wait a second...Mary is pregnant? And it's not mine? And what's this thing about the baby being the savior of the world? How? Why us?"

Some most unusual circumstances surrounded Jesus arrival into our world. This isn’t a normal birth and takes “miracle baby” to the extreme. Understandably, Joseph had a difficult time unpacking the ramifications of this disruption and trying to figure out exactly how he should respond. 

The easy road of quietly breaking it off with Mary was tempting. It would save everyone the embarrassment and the judgmental looks. If he stays with Mary, for the rest of their lives they would have to live with the accusations and gossip. 

Either way the coming of Jesus was going to be disruptive. The lives of Joseph and Mary would never be the same. It’s hard to put in perspective how awkward and difficult the decision they faced was. With incredible character, Joseph decided to place his faith in God rather than his limited perspective and understanding. He chose faith over fear. He decided to trust rather than be terrified. Joseph realized that just because he couldn’t understand how God was going to do something didn’t inhibit His ability to do so.

Reflection

  • What situation are you trying to understand from your limited perspective? 

  • Where do you need eyes to see how God is moving in your life?

Prayer

God, may I fix my eyes on You so I can respond to the places today where You are calling me to act, respond, serve and love. May I not see the world from my own perspective, but look to gain Yours so that I might spend my days glorifying You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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