December 20, 2010

Believing the Unbelievable

Matthew 1:18-25

“Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 1:20


Joseph of Nazareth, a small-time carpenter from Nazareth in Galilee, had just received the worst news of his life. The woman he was to marry had told him she was going to have a child, and he knew the child was not his. Even though he could hardly believe that Mary could have betrayed him, it seemed the evidence was there.

To keep her from public shame and humiliation, Joseph decided to divorce her quietly and send her away so she could raise her child as a single parent.

But then he received an even greater shock. An angel came to him in a dream and explained what had happened to Mary. Joseph was asked to believe the unbelievable: Mary had conceived a child from the Holy Spirit, and this was not just any child—it was the One who would save his people from their sins. They were to give him the name Jesus, which means “Savior.”

The news the angel brought to Joseph would turn his life upside down. Some of his dreams would be put on hold. But Joseph believed, and when he woke up, he did what the angel had commanded. Because Joseph believed the unbelievable, he was permitted to see the Savior and have a part in God’s plan of salvation.

All who believe the Christmas message are caught up in God’s saving work. How about you?

Lord, give us the simple faith of Joseph to believe what seems unbelievable. Help us live out our faith by listening to your Word and obeying you. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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