Advent 25: Psalm 89 & Matthew 1.18-25

From Kelsey Chambliss

I imagine that Joseph was shocked and pained, as any man would be, to hear news that his future wife became pregnant from an outside source. He decides to divorce her quietly as opposed to calling her out publicly, which is admirable, especially as he presumably feels betrayed. But neither option is appealing. No matter if it happens discreetly or publicly, in the end Joseph believes that he will still have to divorce Mary. Both of their reputations and relationships were at risk. It may have never occurred to him, prior to the angel of the Lord appearing, that God was working through their situation in an incredible way.

I assume that Joseph was still a bit more poised than many of us are when disaster strikes. Oftentimes when things go wrong in our lives we react by placing blame on others, feeling sorry for ourselves, and/or feeling hopeless. In the midst of a painful time our first thoughts may not always be on God’s true story. As we grow in spiritual maturity and come to a point where we fully trust God, we’ll be able to remember His goodness and truth right away when difficult situations inevitably arise. And ideally, we’ll be able to maintain that maturity and trust for the rest of our lives, and minister to others by example. Although, we all know that consistency is a struggle, and requires a good amount of spiritual discipline.

Once the angel of the Lord assured Joseph that “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” and they are to give her son “the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21), Joseph immediately obeyed. His story serves as a reminder that we need to allow God to speak to our hearts and we need to open ourselves up to His resolution, because the clear picture won’t come to us when we’re trying to fix things on our own. And once we hear that resolution, we need to be strong and obey, despite societal influence. Moral law doesn’t always align with God’s law, and we should be careful to realize when societal norms are pushing us in the wrong direction. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to counsel and guide us, and we can fall back on the truth of these words in Psalm 89:

 

Psalm 89: 14-18

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.
18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

 

I’m a Virginia Beach native, and I’m currently working as a Construction Recruiter in downtown Boston, placing candidates on highway, bridge, and high rise building projects throughout the East Coast. I’m also a Boston Fellow and will be starting with Sitters Without Borders in January.