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A Christmas Truth

December 19th, 2012

Character and obedience always matter first to God.

“Joseph, [Mary’s] husband, being a just man . .” Matthew 1:19 NKJV.

Joseph is little noticed and under-appreciated in the Christmas drama. Yet God chose Joseph just as carefully as Mary. The Bible says that God saw, “Joseph, [Mary’s] husband, was a just man.” Matthew 1:19 NKJV. A just man, that is quite a tribute from the Almighty. Would God have chosen any lesser man to model spiritual devotion for Jesus? Joseph’s character, priorities, example, and personal faith would be extremely influential in the young child’s earliest years. God knew Joseph would face a difficult choice, and God knew that he would make a just and righteous decision. Read Matthew 1:18-25 NKJV. He could protect his good name or provide a home for Mary and this miracle child. He could not do both. Life gives you choices; not all options are equal.

Mary would need a just man to accept and protect her, to stand firmly between her and the predictable whispers of disapproving friends, and maybe even family; Jesus would need a just father to teach Him the ways of God. God chose Joseph, a just and righteous man. Character and obedience always matter first to God. That is a Christmas truth. When God has something important to be done He chooses those who consistently put God first. Who knows what grand plans God has for your life when you put Him first? Joseph had history with God; God could trust his choices. This Advent, do God’s will first and foremost, then all else finds its proper place.

My Dad, a pastor, often “preached” this principle to me, “First things first!” When asked to do something, I occasionally had an option I preferred. I always intended to do as he asked – eventually – but as convenience and circumstance allowed. Care to guess how that worked out for me? Not so well. Early on, I learned that my convenience did not equal my Father’s expectation. To my Dad, that was not an acceptable response; as an adult, I learned why that is not a strategy that works in life.

Priority evidences importance. You choose to put first who or what you consider to be of first importance. Jesus put the Father first because the Father was His priority. Jesus modeled His priority; “I always do those things that please [the Father].” John 8:29 NKJV. Advent is the season to prepare your heart for the true celebration of Christmas. Christmas should be about re-structuring the way things have become, “. . if you live for Him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” Matthew 6:33 NLT. Are your primary concerns what they should be?

This Christmas – in celebrating the Savior’s birth – seems a perfect moment for an honest inventory of how you and your family reflect this practical issue of keeping “first things first.” Christmas is a good time to be reminded, “[God] has shown you what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 NKJV. A Christmas truth is that life is to be lived more justly and sacrificially every day, in every way.

My prayer for you this Advent is that your history with God allows fulfillment of your destiny in God.

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