Saturday, December 12, 2015

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Participation in the Divine Plan
Matthew 1:18-23
Rev Denny Philip
Carmel MTC, Boston, MA
20 But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
The teachers were assigning roles for the nativity play in a school. When a boy was given the role of Joseph he refused to take it saying that “He doesn’t have any dialogue to say” Yes, in all the nativity plays we find Joseph standing behind Mary and the child, calm and silent. The passage vividly portrays the struggle that Joseph goes through, the assurance by God and the final submission.
Joseph finding his space:  Joseph is trying to figure out where he fits in the Christmas story. His prayer is, as Michael Card sings, “Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours?” He is trying to step out of the plan by secretly dismissing Mary. But on the other hand, being righteous he is not able to do so easily. The divine intervention helps him to acknowledge the working of the Holy Spirit in an experience which the world may call shameful. And he decides to enter into the story and play his role by receiving Mary. There is always space for every one of us in the plan of God but it’s our task to find it.

Joseph in solidarity with Mary: Mary is going through a situation where she is at the mercy of Joseph. Mary’s future depends on Joseph’s decision. His rejection can put her in a state of desolation and his reception can make her safe and at home. Coming out of his initial confusion he dares to be with her even though his decision shatters his reputation and brings him shame. Our stances can build as well as destroy people.

Joseph fathering and saving the Saviour: Joseph is given the opportunity to name Jesus. When he names the child, he is owning the child. Here Joseph, who was a silent character in the story, assumes a stronger position. He becomes the father of the Saviour. It is through Joseph that the Messiah is linked to the Davidic lineage. Joseph plays his role very sincerely. He not only owns the child but also saves the child by running as a refugee to Egypt. When we surrender ourselves, God uses us in ways we can’t even imagine.


Lord help us to understand our role in Your plans and do it with utmost sincerity.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” Charles M. Schulz