One of the primary messages of Christmas is the message of hope. Life is worth living! As I considered these thoughts I pondered what Mary and Joseph must have thought as they worked through the birth of Jesus. God vindicated their sacrifice and affirmed their faith, but they must have wondered “Why am I doing this?”
Mary and Joseph had to confront several challenges that would prompt one to question the value of continuing on. There was the challenge of people. The people in the community would have questioned the virgin birth and Mary’s pregnancy. There was the challenge of their faith. In the midst of faith ventures Satan throws in doubts and questions that will haunt us until the journey of faith plays itself to a positive conclusion. So, what kept Joseph and Mary stable in the midst of these challenges?
First, there was a sense of calling. In Luke 1:26-37 we find the angel’s appearance to Mary. He assured her that her pregnancy was a calling from God. The angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son.” You cannot get much clearer than that.
Those who serve in ministry have a call from God. They do not serve because of money, popularity, or an easy lifestyle. A sense of calling will keep you when the doubts haunt you.
In this Christmas season you can celebrate because God saw fit to place you in a position of ministry. He has called you and He will keep you.
A second source of stability for Mary and Joseph was God’s confirmation of their journey. God’s confirmation does not eliminate the challenges. However, God’s confirmation strengthens and supports us as we face the challenges.
In Matt. 2 we find the story of Joseph and Mary’s near miss encounter with Herod. Herod’s jealousy threatened to destroy them. In the midst of this rage “an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.” (vs. 13) The angel said, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt.” God confirmed them by providing for their need.
As you pastors celebrate this Christmas season, God has a word of hope for you. He has called you and He wants to confirm your journey. You are special to Him. He may allow challenges to enter your life, but He wants you to remember your calling and the special purpose in His plans.
May this hope sustain and encourage you. MERRY CHRISTMAS from the Shepherd’s Connection.