Sunday (December 29): "An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream"
Scripture: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt have I called my son." 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 "Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead." 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in Place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
Meditation: Like all godly Jewish parents, Joseph and Mary raised the child Jesus in the reverence and wisdom of the Lord. Joseph was given a unique task as the guardian and protector of Mary and of Jesus. What can we learn from the example and witness of Joseph? Joseph is a man of God, a man of unquestioning obedience and willing service. He is a man of prayer and a man of God's word. Through faith he recognized the hand of God in the mystery of the Incarnation — the Son of God taking flesh as the son of the virgin Mary. Joseph is a man of action, diligent in the care of his family and ready to do the Lord's bidding. Joseph fearlessly set aside his own plans when God called him to "take to the road" and to leave his familiar surroundings — his home, friends and relatives, and the security of his livelihood in order to pursue a hidden mission God entrusted to him as the guardian of the newborn King.
God has a plan for each one of us. With the plan God gives grace and the assurance of his guiding hand and care. Do you trust your heavenly Father for his plan for your life? Are you willing to sacrifice your own plans for the sake of God's plan? Are you willing to give God unquestioning service and to pursue whatever mission he gives you?
"Lord Jesus, make me a faithful servant of your word and guardian of your truth. Help me to obey you willingly, like Joseph and Mary, with unquestioning trust and with joyful hope."
1 Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who
walks in his ways!
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4 Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
6 May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!