There are a lot of mysteries in the world that intrigue many people. The Bermuda Triangle, the Great Pyramid at Giza, or the Lost City of Atlantis are just a few. When I was younger, I was most intrigued by Stonehenge, a mysterious structure of upright stones in England. I built a model of Stonehenge for a school project and read all about it. Besides the mystery of the purpose of Stonehenge, I was totally intrigued by the amount of time, commitment, and the engineering feat required to build Stonehenge. I was curious about the people who built it, how they figured out how to build it and what it meant to them after it was completed.
I happened to think of Stonehenge this weekend as I attended several church services. It’s not a normal thing to be thinking about at Christmas service, I agree, but when I listened anew to the story of Joseph and the many trials he went through it reminded me of Stonehenge and the commitment of the people who built Stonehenge. Not the same type of situation or same commitment but it made me think a lot about the powerful, deep commitment Joseph made to the birth of our Savior over a long period of time and despite many challenges. I wondered about Joseph this Christmas and what it was like for him. For the first time, Joseph seemed like a mystery to me and I was amazed at all that he went through and in awe of God who was at his side through it all.
I can imagine the moments between Mary and Joseph as Mary went over the situation and she tried to explain the message of the angel to Joseph. I can pretty easily imagine the terrible heartbreak and confusion Joseph experienced when finding out that Mary was pregnant. I can feel the panic and confusion Joseph was reeling with when he considered a way out of the “situation” through divorce. I can imagine the miles and miles of walking Joseph and Mary did and all the time it gave them to ponder the mysteries they were facing. One challenge followed another and at every critical moment God revealed himself. I imagine the comfort Joseph had when he realized he did not have to figure it out on his own.
Next time I am faced with a huge challenge I want to remember Joseph and pray that the Holy Spirit blesses me with the same depth of faith and commitment as Joseph and his strength to persevere through the mysteries and challenges that life throws at me. We don’t have the blessing of a holy angel visiting us during these times of great challenge but we do have the gift of the Holy Spirit who strengthens us in faithfulness and perseverance. We do have the holy Word of God that gives us confidence and peace when we face huge challenges or mysteries and we do have the baby who grew up to be our Savior from sin. We have a God who is “our refuge and strength and ever present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). May we “consider the steadfast love of the Lord” (Psalm 107:43) this week in all the challenges, mysteries and blessings we encounter.
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