Today is December 23rd. Two days left until Christmas. Driving home last night I could feel the tension in the air; the stress; the last minute details; the longings; the busyness. My thoughts raced with all the activities of this month and the days to come, and somehow, a picture of Joseph entered my mind. I saw him running from door-to-door, knocking, sweating, looking over his shoulder to keep an eye on Mary, shaking people, begging.
His wife was having a baby. They had just traveled from their home and family in Galilee to Bethlehem, the town of David, a town where he knew no one and had no support system. Those of us reading the story might wonder, “Good grief! He knew the baby was God! Why worry? God would take care of all the details!” But we weren’t in the middle of it!
Can you feel his panic? He didn’t just tap on doors, “Pardon me, Sir. Could my wife deliver her child in your home?” No! If it were me and I needed to find a place for my wife, you better believe I’d be fighting to find it and care for her.
The image I see, is a husband in dire straits because his wife is in pain and needs a place to have her baby. And it isn’t just any baby; it is the Savior of the world. He has been entrusted by God to keep them both safe. Can you imagine the pressure? And no one will help him! Talk about Christmas rush!
Some of you may be in a panic even now in your life. You do not know what to do or where to go. You may not know anyone who can help you. Like Joseph, you may be running from door-to-door, and there is just NO ROOM for you anywhere.
Just as God knew exactly where He wanted to be born, so does He know exactly where you need to be. Trust Him. Seek Him. Believe in Him. Keep fighting. Keep knocking. He has it all figured out, and He will get you where you need to be.
Sometimes we, like Joseph, have to knock on doors. Sometimes we have to sweat, run, fight, push, and press-in. God doesn’t do it for us, but He shows us the way to the right answer.
Luke 2:10-12, “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’”
I laugh to myself when I think of the ‘what ifs’. What if Joseph could have read the story ahead of time? Then, he would know to find a stable since this would be the sign. He could’ve told Mary as they walked from Galilee to Bethlehem, “God has already told me you will deliver in a stable with livestock and the Shepherds will find us because the angels have told them that the baby will be sleeping in a manger. So that’s what we’ll do.” No sweating. No knocking on doors. No begging. Just a well-thought out plan. Whew! That works for me – but it does not work for God.
What would Mary have said in response to Joseph? Probably what my wife would’ve said to me, “Michael Franklin, I am not having my baby with livestock, and I am certainly not placing him in a feed trough.”
Even when we do not know, God does. And it’s all about the manger.