It’s been five years since Upper Room Books published my Advent devotional, In My Heart I Carry A Star. The book is one of my favorites; but, unfortunately, it’s gone out of print. I understand you can still get one in Africa, but I’m not sure what language it’s in.
So this year I plan on sharing a new Advent devotional with my readers, one day at a time, right here at “The Life-Charged Life.” If there’s enough enthusiasm from you, and enough “sharing,” and enough “hits” from a wide enough variety of people, then it could very well be the basis for my next Christmas book.
Enjoy! – DEREK
DAY ONE – JOSEPH STEPS UP: “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
Maybe it’s because of my unique role as a “Clergy-Hubby,” but I find it very easy to identify with Joseph’s sense of, “I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but that’s one mighty convincing looking angel over there; so I’m going to just smile, and nod, and give the situation a thumbs up.”
Joseph must have really struggled with this one. He was a good man, obviously, and he must have loved Mary; but when he found out about the baby, well, his options were limited. Or at least he thought so.
Then God shows up and points out that, “With God, all things are possible.” God said it again, later, through Jesus; the Jesus who was already making life extremely difficult for Joseph:
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
That’s the thing about God; God doesn’t always go with:
- what’s expected,
- what’s “socially appropriate,”
- what’s kosher,
- what’s “this is the way we always do things around here,”
- what’s culturally apropos.
And that tendency to turn everything upside down becomes even more characteristic once Jesus comes into the picture.
So I’d like to go public with this “thank you” to Joseph. Thanks for being willing to step out from behind the conventions; thanks for being willing to be vulnerable, and to look foolish in front of the other guys if that’s what it took; thanks for being real; thanks for being willing to follow the star; thanks, Joseph, for showing us what it means to be a man.
PRAYER: And we’re off, Lord; it’s Advent already. Show us the way, we pray, just like you did with your servant Joseph. Amen.