December 21

“So the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!” (Luke 1:30) “Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man…” (Matthew 1:19)

As we approach the day we set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I would like to spend a few days “digging in” to the events surrounding Jesus’ birth and relating certain aspects to our life as disciples of Jesus Christ. Though Joseph and Mary, in a technical sense, were not disciples of Jesus, they were devoted followers of God. They were obedient to the light they had been given. Therefore, they are a model or example for all of us to glean from as we examine them a little closer.

God is always looking for devoted followers in every age that He can work in and work through. “Certainly the Lord watches the whole earth carefully and is ready to strengthen those who are devoted to Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). The word “devoted” here is an interesting word. It speaks of friendship and is depicted as one who is at peace and rest, quiet and composed. It portrays a deep affection and contentedness. What a well-rounded description of devotion toward God. I bring this up to us today because God is still looking for devoted followers, just like Joseph and Mary, through which He can make Himself known. They were not perfect people. In fact, Mary herself acknowledges her need of a savior (Luke 1:47), but she and Joseph were devoted to the Lord. This is why God chose them for such an honor. He was not going to entrust His one and only Son to just anybody. He had observed and watched Joseph and Mary for quite a while and had concluded that they were the right couple to be Jesus’ parents. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on those who are evil and those who are good” (Proverbs 15:3). We can be sure that the people God chooses to use in His plan and even how He chooses to use them are always the right fit.

Please understand that in no way am I claiming that they deserved to be the parents of the Son of God. This was still a choice based on God’s grace. However, out of all the people on planet earth at the time, even amongst those who were followers of God, He did not choose Joseph and Mary randomly. He chose them as He does us, purposefully. God was pleased with the way Mary was living her life as a young woman in Palestine, hence the greeting of the angel that she had found favor with God. He approved of her and her lifestyle. Then we read that Joseph was declared to be a righteous man. This speaks of one whose life is conforming to the will and Word of God. These were two people God knew He could work with and work through. There had been a pattern of behavior that revealed their devotion to God.

In this wonderful story of the coming of the Christ into the world, God first looked for two ordinary human beings to be a part of His plan to save the world. Ordinary, common, but also deeply devoted to God – each one of them. God is still in the process of saving the world through His Son Jesus Christ and He is still looking for devoted followers to work through. Let’s strive to be “a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful for the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21).