God Is With Us

Advent is the waiting period before the return of Christ. Christmas is one of the greatest parts of its fulfillment as Mary and Joseph heard God's commands for their lives as people who God favored. Through their obedience, they each served as conduits of God's great love and favor for this world and for one another, yet I am sure there were times when they did not feel favored and loved.

We have heard the story of how Mary and Joseph followed God's commands and eventually realized that their lives as a married couple would not be like any other couple in the history of humankind - Joseph, a good man who was a kind, caring, and patient husband to Mary, the young and immensely faithful mother of Jesus, God's favored one, chosen to bear God's Son. I can imagine there must have been times they may have thought it was a bust and asked "where is God in all this confusion, suffering, and death?"

Joseph and Mary were blessed with God's favor, wanted to please God, and obeyed God in separate ways, yet unknown to the other. One in the form of a visit from an angel and the other in a dream when God told each respectively how they would be part of the greatest miracle ever to occur in human history.

Even so, it was how Mary and Joseph dealt with the events that resulted as part of their obedience to God and honoring God's word that might have caused them to say, "where are you God in all of this?" Especially, after they realized that what they had agreed to do for God would take as a toll on them and on the world around them.

Have you felt the same way after your decision to follow God's leading in your life? Have you experienced personal hardships and witnessed the horrible acts that people inflict upon one another around the world and asked God, "where are you in all this mess"? If so, I invite you to research the meanings of Jesus and Emmanuel.

What can you use from the meaning that may help you understand where God is in this world that too often does not seem to offer much in the way of observable favor and love from God. Their meaning, however, can give deep insights into how God reveals God's love and favor for us, as it did for Mary, Joseph, and the world they lived in from the Bible reading found in Matthew 1:18-25 this week.

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