Advent | Week 4

The Sacrifice of Beautiful
Matthew 1: 19-23
19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[a] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[b] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[c] (which means “God with us”).

I never really thought much about Joseph.
He was always quietly just outside of the spotlight in the Christmas story.

However, during these past few weeks, walking through the grief and loss of loved ones, Joseph has stepped from the shadows.

Joseph is described as a faithful man.
He was someone the community revered and respected.
The type of guy that people wanted to succeed.
Someone that people placed on a shelf, a good guy.

Then it happened, tragedy struck.
The life of the beloved community hero fell off the shelf and shattered.
His fiance’, the woman he loved, was pregnant.

Nobody saw this coming.
People were enraged.
Vindictive.
How dare she do this to Joseph.
He doesn’t deserve this.

He had dreams of what life would be like.
Beautiful dreams.
Dreams of a family.
Dreams of God’s blessing as he faithfully followed Him,
And now those dreams shattered.

How could this be part of it?
He discerned it could not (vs 19)
Did he do something wrong?
How could this have happened?
He loved her.
He loved God.

Out of a heart of love/grace, he would not have her stoned, which is what the community was pushing for, their idea of justice.
Yet her presence symbolized the loss of his beautiful dream.
Joseph was distraught.

It took a divine intervention to find God in the midst of this.

“Do not be afraid” (vs 20)

He feared the loss of beauty, trading what was expected and hoped for – for what was unknown and risky.

He was a faithful man who longed for the Messiah to come, for God to be glorified.
Joseph never dreamed it would be like this, that experiencing Immanuel (God with us) would happen through the sacrifice of beautiful dream for his life.

It was a struggle.

It cost him everything.

His dreams.

His comfort.

His reputation.

All he knew was a promise.

“She will bear a son, name him Jesus, He will save the people from their sins”

Joseph laid aside his dreams

and by faith

Invested in God’s plan.

A plan for a Savior.
Just like Joseph,

I have dreams.
Beautiful dreams.
Dreams that God would work in such intimate ways.
Beautiful stories.
Stories that involved people I loved….
Yet those dreams have been taken away –
Miscarriages,
Gavin,
Leigh,
Scott,
All lives cut short.

Their lives are/were beautiful, the dreams for their lives were beautiful.

Yet now,

I am asked to sacrifice.

Nobody mourns the loss of the wicked,

But the loss of beauty is tragic.

It takes the Divine to walk through it.

It takes the promise of Immanuel.

God’s ways are not our ways.

His thoughts are not our thoughts.

His dreams are not mine.

Lord give me the strength, just as you did to Joseph, to invest in Your dreams.

May You walk with me as I mourn the loss of my dreams, my family, my friends and my understanding of beauty.

May You help me to not be fear either you or the unknown.
May You help me understand the day you had to sacrificed beauty of your Son on a cross,
That you are at work even when it may not seem like it.

May beauty arise in the midst of our darkness.

May the hope of Immanuel come just as the dawn.
May joy resurrect from sorrow, just as Christ resurrected from the grave.
May we persevere till the day we mourn no more.

The day when the beauty no longer has to be sacrificed and all the world is made right in You.
O Come, O come, Immanuel.


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