Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25
Birth stories can be powerful experiences to tell others about, and the writer of Matthew begins the story of God’s in-breaking into our world by setting the scene for a humble birth story.
This passage tells us what the reality of Joseph and Mary’s situation was before Jesus was born. Many children love to hear their birth story not because they want to hear about themselves, but because they want to understand what the world was like before they came into the world. This passage in Matthew gives us an understanding of the world Jesus’ parents lived in before he was born.
One of the key parts of this birth story is the phrase “do not be afraid.” The angel tells Joseph to not be afraid not only for Joseph’s peace of mind, but also for us. These four words allow us, the readers of this birth story, to hope for something that we don’t understand yet; these words allow us to have an expectation that something is going to happen that is good, and that we do not need to be afraid of it.
Ultimately, this birth story invites us into a space where we can hope for good things. Joseph was willing to not be afraid of the ramifications of being married to a young, pregnant girl because the impending birth of Jesus was a good, good thing.
So, on this Christmas Eve, what are you hoping for? What are you willing to not be afraid of because instead you know that God is with you and that the world is changed by Jesus’ birth?
Prayer: Dear God, bless all of your children this night, as we sit between hope and fear. Strengthen us to not be afraid, and be with us as we hope for Your Good in this world. In your Son’s name we pray, Amen.