2019 Advent Devotional – Day 11


Matthew 1:20 – An angel appeared to Joseph

But just when he had resolved to do 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 as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Power - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Do not be afraid. It is one of the most common instructions God gives to humankind throughout the Bible, starting with God’s conversations with Abraham in Genesis, and being shared with leaders such as Moses and David. And now the instruction is given to Joseph—and for good reason. God is asking Joseph to ignore the laws and social expectations of his time and to stay with and marry the pregnant Mary.

For Joseph it must have been a startling and unsettling experience. Up until this point in his life following God and the law were one and the same thing, and yet now the two paths divide, and Joseph has to choose between them. God’s divine reassurance is essential.

As much as we might wish for such concrete reassurance ourselves, nevertheless the spirit of Joseph’s instruction still speaks to us today. God does not want us to be afraid in life, even when the path we are to follow deviates from what might be generally expected.

God gives us his promise to be with us—through the life of Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Spirit—especially when life gets hard. And with this promise God reassures us, “Do not be afraid.” Take heart—God loves you and is by your side.

Reassuring God,
Thank you for your promise to be by my side, and for your encouragement to me in tough times. Help me leave behind the fears in my life that hold me back and prevent me from following your way. Guide me in my life to see the direction you would have me take and to follow you without fear, trusting instead in your eternal love and concern. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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