Listen to this devotional:
Matthew 1:18-20 – This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man, and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, 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, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." (NIV)
Matthew 2:7,12-13 – Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared…. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." (NIV)
When I am on guard duty at our local jail, I often play the word game Scrabble® with myself. As we do not have access to the Internet, a friend gifted me with a travel-sized game, and I sit and play for hours with "me" and "myself".
The other morning in the wee hours, I was engrossed in a very challenging game. The letters I was drawing from the bag were difficult. The words I was able to form were short and went in directions on the board in which I didn't really want to go. Time and time again, I would start to come to the conclusion that I was at an impasse, and then, something would change. The next letters I drew at random from the bag would work out well, and suddenly, another part of the board was wide open. In the end, it was one of my highest scoring games ever, and I was able to use all the letters without penalty.
Sometimes in life, much like my Scrabble game, we may find ourselves from time to time at what appears to be an impasse, just as Joseph, Mary, and the Magi did so long ago. Things we have counted on have fallen through. Life is not taking us in the direction we want to go. We are threatened and don't know where to turn, and then, something changes, and suddenly we see the answer, we know what to do, and a whole new avenue of life opens up before us. Why? Because we are not in this life alone. God, Emmanuel, is with us and He can be trusted to guide and direct us, just as He did Mary and Joseph and the Magi, if we are willing to look to Him in faith and wait for His answers to our dilemma.
In the game of Scrabble, players draw letters randomly from a bag to keep the game going, but in life, nothing is random. God sees and knows and acts according to what is best for each and every one of us from day one until that final day when we meet Him face to face.
Today, life may seem impossible. We may be facing an impasse. We may not know what to do or even how to go on. It may, in fact, be the worst Christmas season we have ever had to face. If so, let us wait, let us trust, let us, by faith, know that something will change, for we are not alone. God is with us, and where God is, hope always resides, waiting in expectation for something to change!
Prayer: Father God, how we thank You that we are not in this world alone. You are with us, and with You also is hope. Bless us this Christmastime, and grant us the faith necessary for whatever situations we may be facing. Thank You that You are always one move ahead of us in this life, planning for our well-being and goodness. Thank You that when we face an impasse with You at our side, suddenly things can change for the better. In Christ's name, we pray and praise. Amen.