A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE, “THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS”
Sy Goraieb (Worship Pastor, Shepherd’s House Church)
This year my wife Janis and I, decorated our home for Christmas two weeks before Thanksgiving. As in everything this year, this was unprecedented for us. But I couldn’t help thinking of the song, “we need a little Christmas, right this very minute…”
It is no question that this has been a year unlike any other, and we do not know what 2021 holds, but we do know the one immoveable constant in our lives; “JESUS CHRIST, is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
I want to encourage you today to ask the LORD for“new eyes” to see Christmas this year. To embrace the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah that we celebrate every December 25th with a deeper understanding and greater revelation of the unfathomable reality of the GOD of the universe coming in flesh because of HIS great love for us.
Take some time this year to read the Christmas story. In my recent reading I was struck by an aspect of the story that we rarely, if ever think about – how the initial pronouncement of the birth of the Messiah in the way that God orchestrated it affected Joseph – the earthly father of Jesus!
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When HIS mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for HE will save HIS people from their sins” (Matthew 1:18-22).
I cannot imagine what Joseph must have thought initially. My betrothed is pregnant and not by me! What am I going to do? His world was unimaginably shaken. And in those days, this would have been a catastrophic scandal for him and for Mary. The initial pronouncement of the long-awaited Messiah was not immediately a fall on your knees and worship experience for Joseph – it looked nothing like he thought it would.
But in the midst of the unthinkable, Joseph being a man of humility and integrity and because of his fear of GOD and love for Mary, did not seek to expose her, instead, chose the much higher road, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” This selfless, courageous, humble act, made room for the LORD to send him reassurance through an angel in a dream, “…Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid…” The Lord calmed his spirit and reassured him, DON’T BE AFRAID, THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS – TRUST ME! And then Joseph knew what he was to do.
The Messiah’s birth and time on earth was not a storybook beginning middle and ending. The pronouncement of the Incarnation, the most significant event in all of human history, began with a potential scandal and as in every aspect of the earthly life of the long expected Messiah, scripture reveals, that this was nothing like the people of Israel had expected.
Today, in the midst of the most unprecedented year of our lifetime, Joseph’s response is a shining example for us in how to respond to the chaos in our nation, to the fear for the future of livelihoods and finances, and to the uncertain course of our nation, with our very freedoms in the balance. We couldn’t have imagined where we are today, this time last year. The good news is, if we respond to the uncertainty all around us in the courageous way that Joseph did to the rocking of his world and seek GOD for what HE desires and expects us to do, we can almost audibly hear the voice of the LORD reassuring us, DON’T BE AFRAID – THIS ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS – TRUST ME!
So, brothers and sisters, I urge you to bask in the joy of this season. Don’t allow fear and the countless erroneous voices out there to rob you of this joyfultime. The irrefutable reality is, that Jesus, the SAVIOR of the world, is with us and HE is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
MAY THE BLESSINGS, GRACE AND JOY OF THE LORD BE ON YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES AS YOU CELEBRATE BIRTH OF THE KING!