Our scripture this week is Matthew 1:18-25.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:20-21

The angel explains the situation to Joseph much as it was told to Mary earlier. There is an air of concern in this visitation. After telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, Joseph is told that this child “will save His people from their sins” (verse 21). That’s a pretty heavy message to receive. Not many couples begin their married life with a burden and a promise such as this.

Joseph is told, as Mary was, not to be afraid. God is doing something wonderful through them and while there may be implications, God tells them it will be worth whatever they encounter. It is not implied that they have no choice, God’s call to us always involves us making a decision – to accept the call He places on our lives or to go our own way. God could do whatever He wants, but He chooses to act in a way that allows human freedom.

How is God calling you to choose today? Our daily decisions may not carry the weight of the call to Mary and Joseph, but we are faced with choices all the time. May we be as steadfast in our faith as Joseph and Mary were, choosing to trust God even in the small things, as well as in times of stress and conflict.

Gracious God, we are thankful for the free will You have given us, to be able to choose for ourselves rather than living out a forced path. Help us to hear Your word and learn and grow in it, making wise decisions in accordance with Your will, Amen.

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