Editor's note: "Unmasking Advent: The Arrival of a Savior in Our Lives" is a sampling of biblical meditations composed by members of the Concordia University Ann Arbor and Wisconsin community. It is our prayer that you will take time during the Advent season to read and reflect upon God's Word and await the coming of Jesus with newfound anticipation and zeal through the Holy Spirit.
December 17 – Responding to God
Isaiah 33:1-24 and Revelation 5:1-14
I have been blessed to experience several theatrical productions during the Christmas season. After watching the Boar’s Head Festival at Ann Arbor last year, I began to think about Joseph. While I have learned a lot about Mary, particularly after she learned about her pregnancy via the Holy Spirit, I had not thought about Joseph’s experience.
God first visited with Mary and shared the news of the coming Messiah. No doubt the people in town soon saw that she, although betrothed and unmarried, was with child. Joseph, feeling quite certain the child was not his own, planned to terminate the relationship quietly in order to avoid public disgrace. Yet God had other plans for Joseph. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit(Matthew 1:20).
If I were in Joseph’s shoes, I may have thought to myself, “God, this would have been helpful to know several weeks ago!” Joseph and Mary could have avoided a great deal of tears, heartache, and an array of accusations. That was not, however, how God arranged the circumstances. Once Joseph heard from God, he knew how to overcome his fear and protect Mary. Joseph was described as a man of the law and undoubtedly he trusted that…the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us (Isaiah 33:22).
Joseph could have been vindictive when he first heard of Mary’s pregnancy. Instead, Joseph handled the situation by cooperating with God in the unique role he played. Joseph seemed content to live in the backdrop and serve as a critical player in God’s greater plan for redemption. I am grateful for the example Joseph provides. Once he heard from the angel, Joseph was bold, brave, and more interested in serving God through obedience than worrying about what others might say. Joseph is great because of the manner in which he responded to God. How are you responding to the circumstances God has placed in your life?
JESÚS HERNÁNDEZ is Director of Enrollment at Concordia University Ann Arbor. He has served at Concordia since 2019.
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