Matthew 1:18–25 (NLT) This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. 20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’ ” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
When Mary returned from her visit with Elizabeth, she was 3 months pregnant and beginning to show. The word got to Joseph that his beautiful, pure bride had been unfaithful to him…or so he thought. Since they had entered a marriage contract, Joseph considered divorcing her quietly so as not to bring more disgrace on Mary. But an angel sent from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him that Mary’s pregnancy was supernatural. He told him that they were to have this Son and name Him Jesus (“The Lord is salvation”) because He would save His people from their sins. The angel went on to explain that this was in keeping with Isaiah’s prophecy,
Isaiah 7:14 (NLT) All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).
The initial reaction that Joseph had about Mary’s pregnancy became for Joseph an incredible source of joy. Can you imagine what it must have been like for Joseph to be responsible to raise his Lord and Savior?
Like what Joseph learned, joy can sometimes strike at times when it is least expected. Let me share a time when I was surprised by joy.
My wife, Donna, was killed when our car was struck by a drunk driver. I was badly injured in the crash, and unable to be with my children as they heard the terrible news that their mother had died. In fact, I was in surgery during Donna’s funeral. I hated being separated from the kids while they were grieving so deeply.
But I was grieving too. My heart as well as my body was broken as I lay in ICU. A couple of days after Donna’s death the kids came to visit me. In the door of my room came Graham, followed by Rick, followed by Sarah, followed by Abby, followed by…not Donna, but a friend of our family who brought the kids. Donna’s absence was magnified, and I burst into tears as I was so glad to see the kids, but so aware of Donna’s loss. Then something miraculous happened. While I cried tears of deep mourning, my heart was also filled with joy! How can this be? What is joy that you could experience it at the exact moment of tremendous grief?
Joy has as its object the Lord Jesus Christ. Joy has as its source the Lord Jesus Christ. I could be grieving and still experience the joy of our Lord Jesus through His indwelling presence and power.
So What? Meditate on both the object of joy and source of joy and then express your thoughts with the words of a prayer below:
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