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Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023

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Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023

Joseph was a just man (vs. 19).  He did not, however, use his righteousness to shame Mary.  Her pregnancy provided all the proof needed that she had broken the betrothal bonds.  In the face of such adultery, Joseph could have publicly denounced her.  But rather than shaming her that way, Joseph committed himself to a quiet divorce.  Whether that would have stopped the wagging tongues is an open question.  Mary would have been an unwed mother in an honor/shame society, and she had no public honor, none.

She did, though, possess a private honor.  She had been chosen.  The angel Gabriel had told her so.  She had been chosen to be the Mother of God’s Son.  Her child… her son… conceived in her virginity… was not the product of adultery but of the Holy Spirit.  Privately, Mary was a most favored lady, chosen by God to be honored with the birthing of God’s only begotten Son.

Joseph knew none of this.  He only saw the onrushing public humiliation.  He needed a revelation… a revelation of Mary’s private, divine honor.  So, the angel of the Lord came to visit him, letting him in on the honor their God had bestowed on her, and instructing him as to the name which Joseph was to bestow upon this Holy Spirit conceived child.  Joseph, being a just man, did as the angel instructed him, and he called his name Jesus.

How about you?  Do you, as Joseph did initially, attempt to satisfy a public honor, displaying your justness before the crowd, or flaunting a righteousness to elevate yourself as better than others who don’t possess your obvious moral rectitude?  Joseph needed a revelation to change his mind.  Like you, Joseph needed a divine messenger convincing him that there is a “private” honor in contrast to the public shame leveled at hypocrites.  And so, God sends you an angel…. a messenger… a preacher… delivering your private honor of being elected by God, chosen by him to be the recipient of salvation in Jesus’ name alone.  And your preacher shall call you Christian.

Table Talk:  Discuss this notion of private honor versus public shame.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, continue to hold me in my election to salvation in the name of Jesus.  Amen

Matthew 1:18-25

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

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