You may want to read this short devotional around the table with your family as you light a candle during dinner.
20 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.Matthew 1:20-25 (NIV)
As we begin this journey through advent, we started yesterday by lighting the prophecy candle. All this week, as we gather in our homes around the table as families, we will be thinking about some of the prophecies surrounding the arrival of Christ the Messiah.
Matthew 1:22 reminds us that all these things happened for a reason. No other birth has been accompanied by so many specific prophecies. There are other prophecies about children being born in Scripture, but none are detailed like this. This birth is special.
Matthew includes the struggle Joseph had surrounding his wife’s mysterious pregnancy. The choice to stay with Mary would undoubtedly mean ridicule and being ostracized by society. Life as he knew it would be over. And this wasn’t even his child. But, Joseph knew these weren’t ordinary circumstances. How many times has an angel appeared to you?
Jesus was born in the way God said he would be born. Hundreds of years before Mary got pregnant, Isaiah predicted it would be through a virgin that the Messiah would come. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said…”
The prophecy candle is an important starting point for our journey through Advent because it reminds us that God always keeps his promises. The prophecies surrounding Christ’s birth were fulfilled exactly as they had been spoken. Because we can observe the precision of God’s ability to keep his promises in the past, we can have confidence He will keep his promises in the future.
“Hope is focusing the present and the future through the lens of God’s faithfulness in the past.” (The Christmas Setup)
For a fun introduction to the prophecy candle, here’s video we showed at SixEight Church yesterday: