Advent Thoughts

Sunday, December 12
Matthew 1:20, 21, 24

What do you do when God speaks? Although no angel is mentioned, Paul clearly understood that the night-time message was from God (Acts 16:9-10), a message that changed the trajectory of his mission. An angel appears in a burning bush to Moses and he fearfully hides (Exodus 3:2-6). Peter’s story (Acts 12:6-10) is almost humorous as he sleeps, chained between two guards, at least sixteen Roman soldiers nearby, sentries at the entrance when an angel awakens him by poking him to semi-consciousness.

In all cases, action follows the message although Moses is slow and Peter seems a bit sluggish: Peter followed…but had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening… Matthew records Joseph’s reaction tersely: When Joseph woke up, the did what the angel commanded him…

Envision the scene and make it human. After a momentous experience, whether filled with joy or sorrow, most of us don’t bound out of bed, filled with purpose, plans made and immediately carried out. Did Joseph rub his eyes, wondering if it was really an angel’s voice he heard? Why would God intervene in a plan he had carefully, even lovingly, considered? How did the angel know he harbored fear? Did he reach for a crust of bread, piece of fruit, a few olives before going to Mary with this new news? Was the house he’d been building ready for them? Are you in the story?

Whatever Joseph’s actions that morning, Matthew wants us to know the intent of his heart was obedience. God sometimes gives us clear guidance, even details about his plans. Other times–in fact, I believe most times–he asks us to trust him enough to get up and obey. Joseph will hear the voice of God at other crucial moments, but perhaps this is practice for the future?

What have you been hearing lately? How are you responding?

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