Life on Hold

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

In the Old Testament, Jesus came in his pre-incarnate form and took the form of man. He appeared to Abraham with two angels who were on their way to destroy Sodom. He came at certain times for specific purposes. In all things he was still Savior. In New Testament times, he could have come in many ways, bloodless, non-human. But to get to the core of man’s problem–sin–God had to become man. Jesus, the Son of God had to become the son of man. It involved people and with each of them there was a choice to be made. Mary and Joseph were required to put their life on hold. It was not just borrowing a little of their time. Their life was going to be forever changed because when Jesus came he forever changed the world.

We can bury the meaning of Christmas to make it a holiday instead of about the real meaning. Emmanuel. The eternal Son of God was born in a manger. His mother was a virgin. His father was Almighty God, the Creator of all things. He and he alone provided our salvation. Just his presence changed the world. Santa didn’t make it possible as did no other Christmas character. I love them all but they didn’t do it. I know their place in the Christmas events and I know HIS place. The world needs to know it. The truth of Christmas is never over. In spite of man, it happened.

Every person is called upon to have something to do with this babe in the manger. I’m thankful to God that you and I believe and are now saved. His life is our life and our life is his. Jesus didn’t steal our life. We have a tendency to think “this is my life.” And it is. Our lives move like waves in the ocean. It is measured by seconds, minutes and years. In truth, it’s relatively short. It’s passing. At death, time is no longer. We are in eternity where time does not exist. We don’t have as much life and time as we did. Every day is a choice as to what we do with our life. What we do today will influence tomorrow. The past is past. We can’t do anything about it but ask God’s forgiveness.  If we’ve wasted our time, we can start out with Jesus today and do better. We don’t put our life on hold. We continue to live. We put life in his hands.

Joseph and Mary courted. They made plans for a home and future together. They were dedicated to the Lord but had their own plans. That is until the angel came with a message from God Almighty.  Mary was told she had been chosen to bear a child that would be conceived by the power of the Almighty. That son would be great. He would be the son of the Most High. Mary was confronted. God didn’t ask her. She thought about her plans and realized a greater plan was already in store. She bowed her head and said “be it unto me according to thy word.” She put her plans on hold so she could be the mother of the Son of God.

Don’t think God is robbing you. It’s better to put our plans on hold instead of God’s plans. Mary said yes and chose God’s way. Were her life and plans fulfilled?  Yes!! She bore the Son of God. He had her DNA, yet when she looked into his eyes she could see God. At the same time she could see herself in him. All because God became a man. That’s why he came: so we could see God and meet him and he could meet us. So he could save us from sin and set us free. If I could ask her “Mary, did you really put your life on hold?”  She’d say “no, Bob, not really.”

The same is true for Joseph. He didn’t know what to think. The only natural way for Mary to get pregnant was by elicit sexual activity. What would others think? The Law of Moses gave Joseph the right to put her away and divorce her. Because he cared for her and thought her to be respectable, he was going to do it privately and not make a public example of her. He didn’t want to hurt her. While he thought on it, he fell asleep and the same angel who visited Mary came to him in a dream.  Joseph was told fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Joseph had a choice. He could have gone ahead and broke their engagement. Go with God, not your emotions or reasoning. God with God, not worrying what others think. There was going to be a baby. He was already in Mary’s womb. But Joseph’s plans were his. God offered Joseph his plans. His life, God’s way. We can pursue our dreams and possibly regret it or we can simply trust God and go on.  Joseph chose to be the guardian of the only begotten Son of God.

Were their futures on hold? No. Instead it became what God wanted.  Did they need those extra rooms Joseph may have been planning for a future family with Mary?  Yes. They had many children together after the birth of Jesus. God gave them everything his way. They enjoyed life because of Mary’s firstborn son. Choose Jesus first. Your life will be fulfilled, never on hold.

We are faced with Jesus. What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Do  you want it to change for the better? Jesus put us first. That’s what Christmas is.  He came. Let’s not continue on as we are. Give it all to God.

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