Summary: Like Joseph, wake up to the truth of Christmas. The babe of Bethlehem is God's Son, your Savior.
What kind of sounds, smells, and sights did you wake up to this morning?
Did you hear the shrieks of children eager and impatient to open presents?
Did you smell freshly brewed coffee swirling with the aroma of Christmas baking?
And did you see Christmas stockings so stuffed that the seams were ready to burst?
Those would not be unusual sounds, smells, and sights to wake up to on Christmas morning.
But there’s something else that God wants you to wake up to this morning. He wants you to wake up to the truth – the truth about yourself and the truth about Jesus.
Joseph’s Christmas experience will help us wake up to those truths.
Joseph has become one of my favorite real-life characters from the first Christmas.
He’s not flashy like the wisemen.
He’s not running all over the place like the shepherds.
He’s quiet yet constant, like an offensive lineman just doing his job to protect the quarterback.
Joseph did that by faithfully carrying out the work God gave him to do: protecting and providing for Mary and her baby.
This is the first truth about yourself that God wants you to wake up to.
You are his servant. No matter who you are and what you do.
Your station in life may not be very glamorous. You may still be going to school or perhaps you’ve set aside a career to look after your family and at times it rankles. You’re tempted to think: “Is this all there is to life?”
If Joseph felt that way, we don’t know about it.
What we do know is that he was a faithful husband to Mary, and also a faithful stepfather to God’s Son, Jesus.
Your children, your co-workers, and your classmates are not Jesus but they are God’s sons and daughters and by serving them you serve your Savior.
Wake up to that truth and you won’t be as tempted to grumble about where God has placed you in life, or complain about the demands these fellow sons and daughters of God make on your time.
It was of course a miracle that Joseph did serve so faithfully.
At first Joseph didn’t realize that the baby Mary carried was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
He thought, like anyone would, that she had been unfaithful. Joseph therefore concluded the only thing to do was to end his relationship with Mary.
But before he could carry out the plan, an angel appeared to him in a dream to tell Joseph that all was not as it seemed.
Mary was indeed pregnant but not as a result of her sin. She was pregnant because of God’s grace!
The child growing inside of her was the fulfilment of a 700-year-old prophecy that the virgin would be with child and give birth to a son. And this would be no ordinary child. He was Immanuel, which is Hebrew for “God with us”!
The angel added that Joseph should take Mary to be his wife and when the child was born he was to give him the name Jesus, which means “Savior” because that is what this child would do: save the people from their sins.
Did Joseph wake up in a cold sweat when he realized that what had seemed so right, divorcing Mary, was in fact so wrong?
God also wants you to wake up to that truth - that just because you have thought about something for a long time and just because you feel like it’s the right thing to do, it may not be.
God would have us lay our plans before him in prayer, and then also check those plans against his will as revealed in his Word!
It was really only God’s Word that would sustain Joseph in the coming weeks and months, for no angel came back to reassure Joseph that he was doing the right thing when he took Mary in.
If anything, his experience at first in Bethlehem seemed to contradict the angel’s promise.
If that baby of Mary’s was really God’s Son and the Savior of the world, then how come they ended up with no place to stay except for a barn?
How could he have been so gullible!
We don’t know if Joseph thought that but if he did, the doubt was quickly dispelled when the shepherds came with the incredible yet true story that angels had appeared to them and announced the identity of that baby.
There was also the reaction of Simeon in the temple and his excitement over baby Jesus.
And then there was the visit from the wise men.
Joseph had not been foolish for believing God’s promise.
That’s the wonderful Christmas truth that we get to wake up to this morning too.
God does not lie. Therefore all of his promises can be trusted even though it sometimes takes a while for those promises to be fulfilled.