Thought for The Day – Sunday 3rd January

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Matthew 2: 13 – 15

Sometimes, over Christmas, Joseph gets pushed into the background.  We forget about his role as Jesus’ foster father. But this is the second, if not the third, time that Joseph had saved Jesus’ life. He married and protected Mary when she was pregnant, he brought her and the near-term Jesus to Bethlehem for a safe birth, and he took the mother and infant on the long road south to Egypt to protect them from Herod. Joseph was simply and honourably obedient to God. He listened when God spoke to him in dreams and through prayers, and he walked the road that God had set before him.  He wouldn’t have known what would come of all these things God told him to do. He wasn’t blessed to see Jesus’ ministry; we assume he’d died before that as he isn’t mentioned during Jesus’ adult life, but his straightforward trust and obedience saved Christ as a child and set a wonderful example before Jesus as he grew up. His obedience reminds us that we don’t always get to know or understand why God is asking us to do things, but our trust and obedience is one of the ways that God works in the world.

Prayer: Blessed Jesus, I often don’t know why your word tells me to do certain things. I frequently argue, dig my heels in or simply disobey. Please forgive me and help me to remember the good example of Joseph, who helped to raise you. Help me to trust you and obediently walk the path you’ve set before me. Amen

Action: look at your day and week ahead, and offer it to God in prayer, asking him to show you what to do and how to react at work, with your family, in your studies, whatever comes along.

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