Joseph did the right thing.

Christmas Memories – Advent Devotion

December 24, 2020

“Joseph did the right thing.”

Matthew 1:18-25

Have you ever done the right thing? Your initial answer might be, “I always try to do the right thing in everything I do.”

Perhaps that’s true. But what about that one time in your life, doing the right thing could affect you or your family adversely?

In the news, we’ve read about whistleblowers coming forward to let a government agency know that the company they are working for is committing illegal acts. We’ve heard of people testifying in court again a crime boss. Even though it might put their lives in danger, they did it because it was the right thing to do.

Years ago, my car slid on an icy patch, and I hit a parked car. I was near a school crossing corner when it happened, and I know the crossing guard saw what happened. There was a lot of traffic behind me at the time, and there were kids in the crosswalk. So, I proceeded through the green light and drove around the block.

By the time I did this, there was much less traffic and no children, and the car I had hit (it was a small dent in the bumper) had left. I pulled over and spoke to the crossing guard. I asked her if she knew who the car belonged to. She said no, but she saw the person almost every day.

I proceeded to write out my name and number on a piece of paper and asked the crossing guard to give it to the car’s owner the next time she saw her. A few days later, I received a call from the owner of the vehicle. I apologized, and I gave her my insurance company’s name (I had already called them.)

I could not have come back to the scene of the accident. I could have just driven away and said, “Oh well, not my problem.”

But I didn’t do that. I came back because it was the right thing to do.

When I think about doing the right thing, I think about Joseph, the husband of Mary. This is what happened:

“This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!

She will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel,

which means ‘God is with us.'”

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.”

Joseph was about to divorce Mary after He found out she was pregnant. Joseph was already about to do the right thing. He was going to divorce Mary quietly. He didn’t want to make a big scene and disgrace her or himself. Joseph was willing to just quietly walk away from the relationship.

But God had a plan, and Joseph was a big part of it. God sent an angel to speak to Joseph in a dream, telling him not to divorce Mary, go through with the marriage, and the angel even told Joseph what to name the baby.

Somehow when Joseph woke up from his dream, he believed what he had seen and heard. Joseph believed and had faith that God had sent a messenger to him.

Joseph listened to the angel’s message from God. And although Joseph knew he and Mary very possibly would have to endure ridicule and gossip from the community, he did the right thing. He listened to God.

Doing the right thing seems to have become a distant memory in our society. We see and hear about people, corporations, and government leaders lying, cheating, and putting others’ lives at risk, just for the sake of riches and notoriety.

When faced with a choice between right and wrong, good and bad, or listening and not listening to God, what will you do?

I pray that you do the right thing.

Dear Lord, help us to always do the right thing. We ask that your Holy Spirit continuously guides us, counsels us, and leads us to make good choices in life. Amen.

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