About the author: Emily Elmore and her husband Ryan are members of ZPC. They have three boys that keep them on their toes and they serve as ZPC Home Group Leaders.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: Matthew 1:18-25
Two of our three boys are old enough to sit and read through our day-by-day advent calendar. Each day so far we’ve read a little bitty part of the most grand birthday, and today’s scripture coincides with what we’ve read thus far.
As we revisit the various elements of Jesus’ birth throughout each Christmas season, we often can’t help but contemplate the events with full knowledge and awareness of the amazing end result. But if we try to place ourselves in the story, facing the same circumstances and feeling the same emotions, it can quickly become overwhelming. Mary, a virgin, is found to be pregnant in a society where adultery is punishable by death. Joseph, while resolved to divorcing Mary quietly to protect his fiancé and remain faithful to the law, must still feel tremendous personal turmoil in upending his plans for a future with Mary.
At this moment, I imagine anxiety and uncertainty would be running at an all-time high, wondering what their individual futures would bring. However, this is the moment when God stepped in to bring peace to the couple. He sent his angel to speak to Joseph and let him know that God had a plan in this. In a moment, Joseph’s perception of the situation was changed. While he still faced tremendous uncertainty, he had the opportunity to feel peace in the moment, knowing that he was playing his part in God’s plan. He obeyed God’s messenger and took those steps toward Bethlehem that have become so familiar to us.
Throughout our lives, and especially during the holiday season, we can find ourselves faced with stressful or frightening circumstances with no certain outcome. While we don’t often receive a proclamation directly from an angel, we have the opportunity to recognize all of these circumstances are part of God’s plan on earth and to proceed joyfully with peace.
Peace be with you this holiday season.
Reflect on a time you faced frightening circumstances. How did you react and who may have been there to support you along the way?
Thank you for the season of advent, and for reminding us of the miracle of your son’s birth every single year. Help us to put our trust in you when we are afraid or have doubt.