took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus."

PROP. I like Joseph. He doesnít stand in the spotlight very long, & we donít know a whole lot about his life. But Joseph can teach us a lot about attitudes - attitudes that can make Christmas real in our lives, too.

I. BE READY TO ACCEPT GODíS WILL, WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE

First of all, Joseph teaches us, "Be ready to accept Godís Will, whatever it might be." Joseph was open to the will & leading of God.

A. Put yourself in his position. Joseph thought his life was pretty well planned. He was pledged to be married, which means that he & Mary had made all necessary arrangements, & the wedding ceremony was soon to take place.

Joseph knew that he would marry Mary, & that they would settle down in Nazareth. He would continue on in his carpenter business, & they would live happily together ever after.

But then Mary came to him & said, "Joseph, I am expecting a baby."

It must have hit him like a bombshell. He thought that Mary loved him as much as he loved her. But now, seemingly, she had been unfaithful to him. He knew the child was not his, & so the only conclusion he could reach was that she had been unfaithful. She had broken the bond that existed between them.

According to the law, Mary should be stoned to death. But Joseph loved her so much that he didnít want that. So he decided to divorce her quietly.

As he was thinking about this, an angel came to Joseph in a dream & in effect said, "Joseph, trust God. He is in this. You may not understand all that is happening, but just trust God & everything will be all right."

B. Joseph was evidently a man of faith. But sometimes it is hard to live by faith, isnít it? If God always does what we expect Him to do, then maybe itís easy to have faith. But when God doesnít do what we expect, then itís hard.

Joseph trusted God. Even though he must have had a list of questions a mile long, he trusted God because he believed that Godís will was best.

APPL. We find ourselves in much the same position as Joseph. Christmas comes as a time of peace, but there is conflict. Christmas comes as a time of joy, but there is so much sadness. Christmas comes as a time of love, but there is so much hatred in our world.

We cry out, like Joseph must have cried out, "God, how can this be?" But like Joseph we hear a still small voice from God saying, "Trust Me."

Godís ways are not always our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, & we may never understand everything that God is doing this side of heaven, but God says, "Trust Me, & it will all work out."

Paul wrote, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."

Christmas happened because Joseph trusted God. And we need to learn to trust God, too.

II. WE NEED TO LEARN TO CARE ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE

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