Day 4: Joy in The Unexpected

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-23 (Joseph’s Call)

“18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: 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[b] 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,[c] 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”[d] (which means “God with us”).”

We each have a special calling on our lives from the time we are born. God already has plans for each one of us, even before we have been created in our mother’s wombs. Joseph was chosen for a very special task, he was chosen to be Jesus’s earthly father. When Mary told Joseph that she was pregnant before their wedding, he did not fully believe Mary. So, God sent an angel to Joseph to confirm that Mary was in fact telling the truth about the baby she was carrying.

Have you ever had doubts about something? At some point we all will carry doubt, and when you do have doubts the best thing to do is to pray and study the Bible to find out the truth. Joseph didn’t have to ask many questions because God provided him with the answers, he needed to make the decision to marry Mary.

Once God provided the answers that Joseph needed to hear, can you imagine the joy he felt in being chosen for his special role of Jesus’s earthly father?  Joseph and Mary are now expected to be parents to a King, not just any King but the King of all Kings! (No pressure at all) Like many new parents, we can imagine that the couple was filled with excitement and joy for the unknown. What was going to happen after the baby was born? What would Jesus be like? There was joy and excitement mixed with a little fear too. How exactly do you raise the son of God? What if they messed up? Just because we have our answers, that doesn’t mean that life will be smooth sailing. It will still be hard and sometimes we will feel frustrated and scared. All good things take really hard work, but at the end of the journey, like Mary and Joseph, there is a wonderful reward.

This Christmas make a promise not to give up when things are hard. Sure, it would be easier to play Fortnite than do your homework, but that’s why lots of people are good at easy things. It takes determination and real hard work to do things that will make a difference our lives and the lives of others. The challenging things that we overcome are like the building blocks of our lives that God will use to make us grow into the servant He wants to be.  So, put the remote down, do the hard work and know that God will use it for his glory.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to trust plans may be for my life. I am excited and joyful to see what you have planned for me.  Give me the determination and endurance to do the hard work that prepares me to be used by you. Please use me as a vessel to do all things in your name. Amen.

Activity: Think about things that you are good at doing.  How many of them did you have to work hard at to be good at them?  Now think about the things you’re not so good at.  Have you really worked at being better?  Pick one thing you’d like to work on in your life. Write down three things you could do to be better and try to focus on them in the days ahead.

Challenge: Sometimes it’s hard for kids to work on the hard stuff all by themselves.  Parents, this week, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself daily to check in with your child on the area of improvement that they have chosen to work on.  Maybe they need a little help or maybe they need a reminder to put down the Xbox remote and work on the more challenging things in their lives.