Summary: Using the GRINCH as an acronym the "C" is for the courage of Joseph who took on God’s call to protect God’s son, Jesus
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in a Christmas message wrote, â€œDuring the Christmas rush two men were standing on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street in New York City, waiting for a red light. One of them was irritated by the traffic. â€˜This town is totally disorganized,â€™ he growled. â€˜Look at this traffic! Itâ€™s terrible! Something ought to be done about it.â€™ The other manâ€¦ thoughtfully countered, â€˜You know, itâ€™s astounding, the romance of it. There was a baby born of peasant parents in a little out-of-the-way placed halfway around the world from here. The parents had no money or social standing, yet two thousand years later that little baby creates a traffic jam on Fifth Avenue, one of the most sophisticated, streets n the world. This irritates you. Instead it should fascinate you.â€1
It is amazing the emotions that this one holy day brings about around our world. We’ve loosely considered the person of the Grinch this season and used his name as an acronym for concepts that cause our hearts to grow. The words I chose to use were Generous, Redemptive, Infectious, Natural, Courageous and Helpful.
God’s generous love has been poured out on our world to redeem us. What’s more there is an infectious joy that comes about in the lives of all who are touched by the natural and supernatural oneâ€”Jesus, truly God and truly man. But it takes more than just a story to change us. It takes courage.
If you have been in a no-win situation then you’ll appreciate Joseph. No matter what he did it wasn’t going to be good. He was engaged to Mary who turns up pregnant. Now a first century engagement isn’t like an engagement today. It was a formal contract, arranged by the parents of the girl, before witnesses, which gave the man legal rights over the her. It was so serious that the death of one of them left the other a â€œwidowâ€ or â€œwidower.â€ Only a formal divorce could end an engagement. During the engagement sexual relations weren’t allowed and the girl lived in her father’s house. It seems likely that â€œhusbandâ€ and â€œwifeâ€, officially reserved for after the official marriage, may have been used to describe the couple’s relationship even during the engagement.2
Can you see Joseph’s situation? He could out her as being unfaithful and she and her family would be shamed, hated and, if things got out of hand, have been stoned or Joseph could divorce her and then he’d look like a chump for getting into something he couldn’t handle. Fortunately God had a third choice for Joseph. In a dream he’s told to take her as his wife.
God came to us through a virgin but God chose to protect her through the courage of a man name Joseph. How does one have courage in such situations and what moves us to be courageous?
IT’S A GOD THING
Joseph discovered that he had been dropped right in the middle of the work of God. He could choose either for or against God but there was no middle ground. Verse 21 says, "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." The emphasis isn’t on the reason "for" but on Jesus. It is He who will save his people from their sin is the emphatic message God gives Joseph.
There’s not another way. There’s no plan B, C, or Q, there is simply a baby waiting to be born and later helplessly lying in a manger with wonderful, powerful, and strange things happening. And through it all Joseph stays true to God’s message.
DO NOT BE AFRAID
Usually when an angel appears the first words off their lips is "don’t be afraid". This angel does the same thing with Joseph but with a major difference, "Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife". The fear Joseph felt had to do about his situation with Mary not the angel.
When we face trying times we need to understand fear has the ability to derail us from seeing God’s vision of things. It’s not easy. I have a horrendous time trying to stand firm when problems come up. It’s not easy to deal with bad news. It’s not life affirming to have your career, marriage, kids; health and whatever else deteriorate, die and dry up all around you.
But God’s message to those who face such things is the same; do not be afraid to deal with it. One’s lack of fear in such situations can only come about when we see that we are in the middle of a "God thing". You’d think an angel would make this easy but I know people who have faced God’s messengers and totally ignored them. Like in the movie, Bruce Almighty when he asks for a sign and a truck cuts him off full of traffic signs like, "go back, wrong way, U-turn etc.