Focal Passages: Matthew 1:18-25; 2:19-23
When we celebrate the birth of Christ there will be many people who struggle during this time of year. Not because they despise Jesus, but because they miss their loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord. Therefore, this week’s lesson is about having courage, regardless of our circumstances. We will explore how Joseph responded with courage to God’s message of the incarnation and apply it to our lives. Out of the numerous lessons we could take from Joseph’s life, I would like to suggest three that could help us be more courageous.
First, we should always listen to God over the opinions of man (Matthew 1:18-20). Joseph initially intended not to marry Mary once he found out she was pregnant, but instead he chose to obey God. There will be times in our lives when the crowd is going in one direction and God’s Word is going in the opposite direction. A truly courageous person will always obey God over man.
Secondly, it is better to do what is right than to do what is easy. Joseph could have easily separated himself from Mary, but He knew God called Him to something greater. There will be many people this Christmas who will have to make an important decision. They will throw off the chains of discouragement and get out of the house to make a real difference for Christ or they will shut their doors and live in loneliness. I pray God will give them the strength to do the right thing and make such a meaningful difference.
Finally, a truly courageous person will put others before himself. Joseph had the legal right to divorce Mary, but out of obedience to God, he put Mary’s well-being first. Perhaps, this Christmas will provide an opportunity for us to step out of our comfort zone to be bold in order to serve others. Given our consumer-minded culture, anyone willing to serve others during this time of year could make a significant impact for the cause of Christ. What will you do?