Devotional Gabriel shows up a third time in the Christmas narrative, this time to reassure Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, that she was not unfaithful to him but was carrying the Son of God. It was the first of two times Gabriel would reassure Mary’s not-so-sure husband.
What’s an angel to do? Joseph was a godly man – he was faithful to the law. He could have publicly humiliated Mary for her infidelity, but he chose to do what was easier on Mary and “divorce her quietly.” How is Gabriel going to convince this very honorable man that Mary was a woman of honor too, even though things didn’t look that way? Gabriel chose to appeal to Joseph’s godly character. He focused on two areas in speaking to Joseph:
He reminds Joseph of his royal ancestry – “son of David” – appealing to the pride of his legacy. “You are of royal ancestry”, he seems to be saying, “You are part of the people of God.”
He appeals to Joseph based on Scripture. This is, Gabriel reminds him, to fulfill Scripture: “The virgin will give birth…”
Joseph knew who he was and he was committed to Scripture, something vitally important to the man who would be the earthly guardian of Jesus. It’s something we all should follow – know who we are as Christians and know what the Bible says.
And Joseph’s response was what you’d expect from such a person – immediate obedience, even to such a difficult mission. He took Mary as his wife. But he took it a step further…he didn’t consummate that marriage until after Jesus was born so there could be no doubt that he was not the biological father.
Having met the man who would father the prophet who would prepare the way for Christ, then the woman who would give birth to the Son of God, and finally the man who would serve as his earthly father, Gabriel was no doubt in awe of God and His choices, certain His plans to save humanity and bring them back to Him would happen despite the spiritual battles still to come.
And Gabriel had another assignment in this narrative…to lead the chorus of angels declaring the birth of Christ!
Look Up – Connect with God Read: Matthew 1:18-24
Key Verse: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 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.” (Matthew 1:20-21)
Pray: Father God, I thank you for the angels who come and give us your message, protect us, teach us, advocate for us, guide us, and fight battles for us. Thank you for Gabriel and his ability to convince Mary and Joseph that the words he shared were from God himself. Thank you for Joseph’s obedience; may I be as quick to obey when God gives me an assignment.
Look In – Family Memories Discuss: Have you ever encountered an angel, or what you thought was an angel – in a dream, when reading Scripture, in real life? In Hebrews 13:2, God tells us, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Have you ever experienced that or known someone who did? Ask God to give you a heart for hospitality and help you be aware of what might be happening in the spiritual realm.
Activity: Are you familiar with USPS' Operation Santa? Click here to learn more about it! Adopt a letter to fulfill between now and December 18 and help someone's Christmas wish come true!
Look Out – Connect with Others Is there someone in your neighborhood you could reach out to invite over for a holiday treat? Be open to being a host this Christmas season and see what God does in and through you.