An Angel Appears to Joseph

 

Theme: Joseph accepts Jesus as his son. Advent 4-A
Object: A Christmas angel ornament
Scripture: When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25 (NIV)

Don't you just love all of the beautiful decorations during the Christmas season? We see colorful ribbons and bows, bells, candles, stars and a lots and lots of angels. Why do you think we see so many angels at Christmas time? Probably the first thing we think of when we see angel decorations at Christmas is that the angels appeared to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds. But an angel is important to the Christmas story even before Jesus was born. Can anyone remember the first time Mary or Joseph saw an angel? That's right! An angel appeared to Mary and told her she was going to have a baby boy.

Our Bible lesson today tells us about another visit from an angel. This visit was to Joseph. As you know, Joseph and Mary were engaged to be married. Can you imagine the thoughts that came to Joseph's mind when he discovered that Mary was going to have a baby? He probably asked himself, "What do I do now?" Joseph was a good man and did not want to disgrace Mary publicly, so he decided that it would be better to break off the engagement quietly. While he was considering this, an angel appeared to him in a dream.

"Don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife," the angel said. "The child that is inside her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save the people from their sins."

When the angel of the Lord had spoken and made God's plan clear, Joseph was obedient. He didn’t have to understand how everything was going to happen. He didn’t need to worry about what anyone else would think. Joseph trusted God and obeyed Him.

Sometimes you and I may find ourselves in a situation where we don't know what to do. Like Joseph, we might ask ourselves, "What do I do now?" If we listen, God will tell us what to do. He probably won't speak to us through an angel, but he will speak to us through His Holy Word! It is up to us to listen and obey.

Heavenly Father, we are filled with joy by the many lessons we learn from the story of the birth of our Savior. Help us to read your Word and listen as you give us the answers to life's difficult questions. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.