Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Christmas Blog Swap, Part One

Today is the start of the Christmas Blog Swap, which +Lizzie L masterminded to help spread fun and excitement this December.  Today, I bring you a thoughtful, Christmas post from Shelley, over at Unforced Rhythms of Grace.  Although I don't know Shelley very well (I actually just met her because of this blog swap!) she seems like such a wonderful person -- completely sold out for Jesus Christ and His mission for us here on this earth.  After reading this post from her, you should definitely head over to her blog and check it out.  Also, you can read my Christmas swap post on Shelley's blog today, too.  The other bloggers in the swap are on the other blogs listed around this picture, and I definitely recommend checking out their posts as well!

Anyway, without further adieu... here's Shelley!

I can’t believe its December already.

College finished for Christmas last Friday, and we followed tradition by sharing in a Big Breakfast (Full English meets American, anyone?!) followed by one last chapel service. 

The message brought this year was one that I’d never thought of before, so I could think of no better way to start this wonderful Christmas Blog Swap than sharing with you the beautiful, profound message that greeted my heart last Friday.

So often, when we read the Christmas story, we focus on Mary, the angels, Jesus, even the shepherds and magi. But there’s one character that often gets overlooked. He’s shoved somewhere near the back of the traditional nativity scene, and his part in the Christmas story isn’t often read for all it’s worth. Joseph.

We read in Matthew 1:18-21:
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. 21 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.”

This story hinges just as much on the obedience of Joseph as it does on Mary. Joseph was presented with a choice (and praise God, he made the right one!). He had a choice to accept Mary and Jesus, or he could have divorced Mary quietly as he had planned to and moved on with his life.

But what would have happened if he had followed his own plan? Society in Bible times didn’t look favourably upon those who were pregnant outside of marriage, so Mary, if she wasn’t killed for being pregnant outside of marriage, would have had an incredibly hard time raising a child on her own, so there is so much more to Joseph than simply not divorcing her. He was protecting her from being killed or shunned by society, and that’s a big deal, especially considering that people today are of the opinion of getting rid of something that you’re not happy with. Joseph was prepared to take responsibility for a child that was not his. He was prepared to be obedient to God and trust that He knew how this was going to work out. 

The challenge I want to present to you this Christmas is to take hold of God and trust in His instruction and direction. I often wonder if Joseph was fully aware of just what he was signing up for when he was obedient to God, and if he understood the impact that his obedience would have on the world. We don’t know the difference one simple act of obedience might make in someone’s life, so let’s try and be brave enough and give it a go.

Shelley x


  1. Rachel, I am excited to "meet" you through this Christmas swap! It's so fun to became familiar with other bloggers. Shelley, thanks for your thoughts about Joseph…his story is such a testimony of a man who was faithful to God even when he didn't see the whole picture. I'm so enjoying these posts with reminders of such wonderful truths of the season!

    1. Nice to meet you, too! It's so great to get to know other bloggers through a blog swap. I loved your post today, btw! Traditions and memories are so much fun!

  2. Very true, Shelley! Thanks for sharing. And I loved your post, too, Rachel!

  3. Thanks for sharing Shelley! While Joseph is still in the manger scenes, I still forget about what an important role he played. Thanks for reminding me and challenging me to follow God even when it doesn't make sense :)