Speaking to the Soul – December 22

A short reading and prayer for today

As Joseph 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.”
Matthew 1:20 NLT

This account is so familiar to us that we need to take a moment to try to imagine what the experience must have been like for Joseph. In all probability he would have been in his 20s and Mary may well have been a teenager. He was clearly a good man and he took his Jewish faith very seriously. His decision to end the relationship quietly was understandable but he must have been experiencing a riot of emotions. He was thinking of Mary, himself, his family’s name and reputation and his desire to do what God wanted. As he turned over these things in his mind he had a dream in which he was addressed with his family title. He was Joseph, belonging to the line of the great King David. In the dream he was told not to be fearful but to take Mary as his wife because the baby was a gift of the Holy Spirit. What I love about this story is that those words were enough for Joseph. Having heard them, he then went and took Mary as his wife. He must have known that people were always going to assume that he was the father. He would have to cope with people’s sniggers and gossip but he could cope with that because he knew that he was being obedient to God.

It’s a matter of fact that God will often ask us to do things which are not well understood by those around us. Jesus lived with this continually. He was forever being accused of acting with bad motives and even of being inspired by the devil. The prophets in the Old Testament were rarely thanked for their utterances and were often cold-shouldered by their communities. Following God’s will is rarely easy. We may know little about Joseph but his obedience to God’s will in an incredibly awkward situation is impressive and should inspire us as we seek to serve God today.


How do you hear God speak to you?


Loving Father, thank you for the ways in which you make your will known to us day by day. Give us courage to be obedient to you whatever the reaction from the people around us. Amen