Matthew 1: 18-25
I love Christmas shopping. It may sound kinda crazy but I actually like the crowed mall, carrying lots of bags, and perusing the stores for the perfect gifts for my family and friends. The thought of sitting at my computer and using Amazon Prime just doesn’t do it for me. I want the whole experience which ends with matching wrapping paper and bows and hours spent tangled in ribbon and tape to complete the perfect gifts.
No matter how you go about getting presents this time of year, one thing is true… it will cost you something. You would not go into your closet and find a worn sweater that not longer fits and wrap it up for someone you love. Can you even imagine the look on their face if they were to receive such a thing? Giving takes thought, money, time, and your creative talent for those handmade items. Even the simplest of gifts come with a price tag.
I woke up this morning with a verse from King David running through my head. It is found in I Chronicles 21:24 where David is buying a place to build an alter. The owner of the “threshing floor” desires to give it to David, but David wants to give payment. The verse basically states that “he will not offer anything to his God that costs him nothing.”
Following Christ has a cost and I am reminded of that today in the reading of Joseph and the choice he had to make to take Mary as his bride regardless of the circumstances. Granted, he did have an angel guarantee him of the truth… but even still it came with a cost.
Often we romanticize the stories from the Bible but when we begin to think of them as real people, with real emotions living a real world we may see the story differently.
Even though Mary’s baby was the promised One and Joseph knew it, his engagement and marriage would come with a high price tag. God had called them to do something hard and I’m not just talking about raising the perfect the Son of God. As their small community began to discover the news of Mary’s pregnancy the treatment they received didn’t culminate with a baby shower and lots of presents. In that day women who became pregnant outside of marriage would have been stoned. Even as we are told Joseph takes Mary for his wife, we don’t know if they began their formal life together or if they completed the time of betrothal. We don’t even know if their families believed them. They may have been shunned from their community and the goings-on of everyday life.
Submitting to God’s plan, even as glorious as being the parents to His One and Only Son, had a cost. This cost was worth paying as Mary and Joseph obeyed and did what God had asked of them.
Has God asked you do do something for Him? Maybe it’s something hard that requires time and even your money? Following Jesus has a cost and that cost is given in Matthew 16 where Jesus says: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
May we submit to God’s calling in our life no matter the cost. Let us not offer anything to our King that costs us nothing!
Take up your cross this Christmas!
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.