At this time of year as I try to set aside the holiday rush and connect with the real reason for the season, I find myself wondering what it was like to be a witness to what God was doing in the lives of Mary and Joseph. The Bible doesn’t say what their immediate families thought about Mary’s claims to be a virgin with child. The only glimpse of unbelief comes from Joseph when he considers divorcing Mary.
Looking at how Mary and Joseph kept their faith in the midst of such possible ridicule and shame helps me to see how God operates in our lives. Here are a few ways that God reminded Mary and Joseph what He was capable of:
- An angel told Mary she would give birth—as a virgin.
- Mary visited Elizabeth and received confirmation of what the angel told her.
- Mary carried Jesus in her womb as a constant reminder of God’s promise to her.
- Shepherds were sent by angels to worship Jesus.
- The wise men bearing gifts were guided by a star to visit Jesus.
- God protected the young family as they escaped to Egypt to avoid Herod’s murderous spree.
While it may seem like a stretch to compare ourselves to Mary and Joseph, they were human and I imagine that they needed these reminders as well—especially when it came to watching Jesus be crucified on the cross.
In my pastor’s Sunday message, he noted one way to experience peace this Christmas is to find ways to remind ourselves of what God is capable of. The verse that comes to my mind as I look back at how God has shown up in my life is also from the Christmas story. It is Luke 2:19: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Like Mary’s story, God gives us glimpses of Himself in our lives. He wants us to treasure them, to remind ourselves of them, and sometimes even cling to them in times of trials and tribulations. When we remind ourselves of God’s goodness in our lives, we can trust Him in the dark periods too. It builds our faith and it gives us His peace.
~ Ardis A. Nelson