Summary: Story format sermon in special Christmas service with three parts interspersed with scripture reading and carols.
READ -- Matthew 1:18-19
“This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.” (NLT)
Joseph’s Crazy Dream -- PROLOGUE
There are a least three types of dreaming that we do.
Martin Luther King, Jr demonstrated the first with his “I Have a Dream” speech.
"I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:
"'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood."
This kind of dreaming happens while we’re fully awake -- and it involves envisioning a better future.
The second type of dreaming occurs while we’re sleeping -- typically about two hours per night during the REM stage. This is the time when the most random events and people show up in the most unexpected places. Weirdness is prevalent -- running but never arriving -- and at the end realizing that you’ve been naked the whole time. Sometimes such dreams are quite scary.
The best way to explain these dreams is to say that they are the equivalent to the disk defragmentation that you do on your hard drive. Little bits of random information are moved around and reorganized so that they are stored in an appropriate configuration -- unlike your hard drive, though, not necessarily the most efficient position for access in the brain but slotted and linked in a way that protects our minds from overload and insanity. And occasionally solving a problem over which we’ve been noodling.
The third type of dreaming is -- perhaps well described as mystical -- or even better yet, as mystery. Divine messages or insights doing end-runs around the clutter of our consciousness -- breaking through to get our full and undivided attention.
While this is not as common in the detached and calculated scientific West -- dream messages occur quite often in other parts of the world. It’s happening around the world -- even today.
A radical Egyptian terrorist has a dream in which Jesus speaks to him and quite suddenly his heart is changed and he is transformed into a follower.
There are similar stories from Indonesia, India, and Bangladesh. common stories.
The churches in Iran are bulging with converts who have had a dream encounter with Jesus.
Don’t ask me to explain it. I have no explanation. It’s a mystery.
And there are times when our dreams collide with each other -- the mysterious swerves into the pathway of the REM dream -- and results in a vertigo that flips our personal dreams -- a divinely orchestrated twilight zone that stands life on its head.
SONG -- O Little Town of Bethlehem
READ -- Matthew 1:20-23
“As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
“All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’” (NLT)
Joseph’s Crazy Dream -- THE STORY
When you think about it, it’s actually pretty amazing that Joseph had any kind of a dream. Sleep hadn’t come easily. The whole situation was incredibly stressful and traumatic.
This girl -- or should we say, young woman, that he was engaged to marry -- had informed him two days earlier that she was already with child. (Oh, wow, a package deal that he hadn’t anticipated.)
“What?” he raised his voice -- not so much out of anger as disbelief. It was not at all in keeping with the character of Mary. I mean, there were some girls that -- well, it would not have been that surprising. But Mary was different. That was why he had agreed to the marriage.
She was the dream wife -- gentle, beautiful, wise, known for loyalty, and a devoutly religious women. She had a reputation for kindness and was the first to share bread when a stranger came into the village. If anyone might be the mother of Messiah, it was she. That was why he agree to the marriage.