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Christmas from Joseph’s perspective

Have you ever looked at the Christmas story from Joseph’s perspective? God has given husbands and fathers the role of protector and provider for their families. Joseph, like all husbands, wanted the best for Mary and the baby.

As a carpenter, Joseph must have made the crib for the baby Jesus to lie in. The room was prepared with Mary and the baby in mind. The midwife had been notified of the impending birth. Local women were invited to help with caring for the new mother and baby. Then the unthinkable happened. A mandate from Caesar required them to travel to Bethlehem in order to register for their taxes. This trip of over one hundred miles came at the worst possible time for Mary, who was nine months pregnant.

It seemed all of Joseph’s plans had fallen apart and he felt helpless. Because Bethlehem was so crowded, the only place available was a dirty stable. Then the baby came, with no women to support Mary with the birth of her first child and no family to rejoice with her.

Joseph’s disappointment and frustration over the change in his plans must be seen in the light of God’s greater purpose. They were right where God wanted them, 700 years earlier it was prophesied — in the book of Micah — that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. The stable would be a place where everyone would be welcomed to see the baby.

This Christmas may not be what we expect. Things may happen that are beyond our control. We then feel alone in this vast universe. In order to have peace, we must factor God into the equation. By giving God the freedom to change our plans to fit His, we show our trust in Him. The Lord is bigger than our circumstances and He knows what is best for us. Because He lives from eternity to eternity, nothing catches Him off-guard. The Lord has already started the preparations to meet our needs long before anything ever happens. If we trust God with the unknowns of life, we can let Him choose the journey from where we are to where we need to be. Our Lord sees the Christian life as a marathon that we run with patience, whereas we live as if it is a sprint, always in a hurry. As with Joseph, this may not be our best Christmas because something unexpected has happened, but remember, from the Lord’s perspective, it could be our greatest Christmas ever.

STEVE CONWELL, pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church, is heard mornings on WFLO and WVHL in “A Thought For Today.” His email address is SteveConwell@outlook.com.