120720 Weekly Devotional

The Power of a Voice

A Devotional for Advent

“…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…She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’” –Matthew 1:20

In the New Testament, the word save(d) has a variety of meanings. It can be used to describe physical healing, forgiveness, or rescuing from one’s enemies. But when my daughter and son-in-law had a serious car accident a few days ago on their way to Minnesota, the meaning of saved as “rescuing from disaster” took on a whole new understanding for me.

After several days of discussing the pros and cons of taking a trip to visit several family members who were experiencing serious health issues, my daughter and her husband loaded the kids and the dog into the family van. But three hours into the trip they hit a patch of ice, skidded into a semi-trailer truck and careened into a ditch. By the grace of God, no one was hurt.

Soon after I heard the news and saw pictures of the totaled van, I texted this to my daughter: “Call later if you can so I can hear your voice.” I’m not sure where those words came from except in those moments of fear and uncertainty, I somehow knew if I could hear her voice, everything would be okay.

And today, as I think about Advent, about the Christmas story, and especially about Joseph, the man chosen by God to be Jesus’ earthly father, I wonder: Did he go to bed that night feeling uncertain? Afraid? Sick to his stomach about what could happen to his reputation, but especially what could happen in the morning to Mary? Did he toss and turn, asking God for some reassurance that everything would be okay? Some confirmation that he’d made the right decision to divorce Mary quietly rather than subject her to public scorn and possible stoning?

…so I can hear Your voice.

God knew how vulnerable Joseph would be when asked to take on such an enormous responsibility. How uncertain and afraid he would feel, day in and day out as he and Mary waited for the baby that wasn’t his to be born. And God knew nothing would reassure Joseph as much as hearing a voice from heaven.

…do not be afraid…you are to give Him the name Jesus…He will save…

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