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God with us

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “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.”...When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25 NIV

From the text, Matthew narrates the birth of the baby from the husband’s point of view. As described, Joseph was faithful to the law. He must have tossed many sleepless nights over the pregnancy of his betrothed wife. Since the marriage has not been consummated, Mary’s pregnancy was a breach of their betrothal. Despite the situation, Joseph acted regally in his unusual difficulty. Joseph could have exposed Mary by dragging her into court; that was certainly his right. At the least, he could have divorced her privately by handing her a summons of divorce. In his kindness, he chose the quieter means. But when the angel appeared and reassured him that Mary was not to be faulted, “he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” The child in Mary’s womb was God’s promised Messiah. For centuries, Israel had eagerly awaited the day of His arrival.

Joseph had no need to fear, because the Holy Spirit was responsible. The Holy Spirit is the power of God working on earth to accomplish God’s purposes. Through the Spirit, the world was created (see Genesis 1:2 and Psalm 104:30). Through the Spirit, God’s covenants are fulfilled. Jesus’ birth fulfills what the prophets wrote in the past. Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14 where Isaiah was predicting an astonishing miracle. Isaiah foretold the birth of a child who was to be the savior of the world: “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6). “You are to give Him the name Jesus [“God saves”] (Matthew 1:21). “They will call Him ‘Immanuel’—which means, ‘God with us’ ” (Matthew 1:23). Because Christians have grown up with the Christmas story, we take its marvels for granted. But think of it, the all-powerful God on the one hand; a helpless little baby on the other. Matthew says that in that baby, man meets God. God is with us! At the center of this event is the presence of God. Christianity cannot base its uniqueness on the circumstances of Christ’s birth. What is unique to the Christian faith is that the same Jesus Christ who was born one Christmas morn will suffer and die on the cross, then on the third day rose from the dead. Upon that assertion its case stands or falls for our faith hinges on this message of the gospel.


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