Summary: Things don’t always go as expected. Joseph found it out, and so have you. What do I do when life seemingly takes a wrong turn and I need a miracle?
For Horace Walpole life had taken a wrong turn somewhere along his journey. Life had become drab and dreary, just an existence. I won’t ask for a show of hands though I think some of you could relate to Horace’s situation. It is where you are right now. You made plans in life and somewhere along the journey things took a wrong turn. You didn’t expect to fall victim to the recession, you didn’t expect the doctor to say the “c” word. You thought your kids would grow up perfect. You thought you would outlive your spouse. Life has taken a wrong turn and you need a miracle, and for some, you need it fast, like yesterday.
This month we are talking about how you can have your miracle this Christmas. I should point out miracles don’t usually come wrapped as we thought they would, or in boxes the size we thought they would be. God’s miracles are always wrapped better, come bigger, and are more delightful and surprising then we might have thought them to be. Horace discovered that. There is also someone in the Bible who made the same discovery at Christmas time. His name was Joseph.
Today I have a simple, practical lesson on what to do when it seems life has taken a wrong turn and you need a miracle. It could be a miracle you needed yesterday, it might be one you will be in need of tomorrow, or it just might clear the way for your Christmas miracle today.
I. Life is not always what it seems.
Most of us know the story of Mary and Joseph. Joseph was a bit older than Mary. Their marriage may well have been arranged through family, which was not uncommon in that day. However it came about, they were engaged, actually to the stage where they would have been considered married thought in the Jewish custom having not consummated their marriage which would be done after a formal wedding ceremony. Somewhere between the time of this formality, Mary came to Joseph with some startling news. Matthew 1:18 tell us she was pregnant and Joseph was not the father. Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
How do you tell someone life is not what it seems? “Joseph, we need to talk. The most amazing thing has just happened to me. I’m pregnant and an angel told me I was going to give birth to the Messiah.”
It must have been quite a persuasive conversation. Verse 19, Joseph, her fiancé, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly.
If Joseph believed the story, he would have stood by her. Because he had a great love for her he made a decision to privately break off the marriage. He didn’t want to disgrace her, to have her put to death, the penalty for this kind of behavior at that time. Life for Joseph was not what he had planned. A bride, a wedding, children later down the road, someone to enjoy life with, someone to grow old with, someone who would be loyal and faithful. Instead, the person he thought would meet those desires now turns up at his doorstep, pregnant and with a story so wild, well what could he do but be honorable, the type of man he was. It sounded like something from a fairy tale…
Fairy tale that was what Horace Walpole was reading in 1754 sitting in his home in England on a grim winter day. A Persian fairy tale, that was about to change his perspective on life. It was the story of three princes who set out from the island of Ceylon in pursuit of great treasures.
Life is not always what it seems. Much like four garbage collectors found out In Paris in 1974. Their truck was pulled over by the police, they were taken from the truck and instead of being taken to jail they were taken to the presidential palace where they were the guests of the president of France for breakfast and presented at the end with a turkey and bottle of champagne, and wished a Merry Christmas.
II. Life is full of change.
Have you discovered this? Some change is good, some, well, perhaps not so good. Change is inevitable no matter. We change our clothes, daily I hope, we change our hair color gradually unless it is with dyes, we change jobs, addresses, and phone numbers. Some change mates and exchange children on the weekends and vacations. Life is full of change whether we want it or not.
Joseph was looking forward to a wedding not a birthday party. Matthew 1:20 As he considered this, he fell asleep and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary.”