Advent Week 2: The Remarkable Faith Of Mary & Joseph
Can we stop and ponder together the enormous amount of faith displayed in the story of Jesus’ birth?
The faith of those who believed the prophecies passed down from generation to generation that “a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end.” (Isaiah 9:6)
The faith of Mary when she learned from the angel Gabriel that she was chosen by God to carry Jesus: “Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.'” (Luke 1:38)
The faith of Joseph when he believed the word of the Lord that Mary was divinely pregnant and he was to marry her even though he had every right to call off their engagement: “When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.” (Matthew 1:24)
The faith of Joseph and Mary together that God would provide for them as they made the arduous, 80-mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register for the census: “And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” (Luke 2:6-7).
The entire story of Jesus’ birth is wrapped in stories of deep faith and trust that God would do what He said He would do. Last week, the Prophecy candle was lit. The prophets told of Christ’s birth and these messages had been passed down from family to family. To believe these messages, to believe a savior would be born, took great trust and faith, especially when no timeline was promised. In this second week of Advent, the Bethlehem candle is lit, representing the faith of Mary and Joseph and their journey to the city of Bethlehem. In God’s good and perfect plan, this city, meaning “House of Bread” in Hebrew, would be the place the Bread of Life would be born. Getting to this city, this place where God would fulfill what He promised to the prophets and His people for centuries, required Mary and Joseph’s obedience to God’s call and faith to follow His commands.
Faith is a journey that requires time and obedience. Mary and Joseph were obedient to the angels who delivered God’s word to them. They were obedient to the journey God divinely appointed to fulfill the prophecy from so long ago. They had faith God would provide for them along the journey and when they arrived in Bethlehem.
For us today, Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that “it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”
What is God calling you to today that is requiring faith? Are you willing to be obedient to what He’s calling you to even if it means giving something up or taking on something you feel wholly unqualified to do? Are you willing to keep the faith when God isn’t operating on your timeline?
If you truly want to please God today, give Him your faith, trust, love, and obedience just as the prophets and Mary and Joseph did those thousands of years ago…and wait patiently and expectantly that God will make good on His promise.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” – Hebrews 10:23