"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." Matthew 1:21 NIV
We can only imagine Joseph's angst at hearing the news of Mary's pregnancy. While she was telling the truth of the conception, his mind surely was filled with doubt. The idea was too incredible to accept. There must have been a man involved. We can imagine that night, his mind troubled, tossing and turning, sheets twisted around, he eventually falls into a deep sleep.
Another incredible event occurs he is visited by an angel, perhaps God's messenger Gabriel, giving him the assurance he needed to hear. Since this happened in a dream, Joseph, upon waking, could have written it off as just that. But, instead, he chose to believe and took Mary as his wife.
This story is familiar to us; we hear it read each Christmas. What can we learn new from it? One of the lessons to be learned from this story is to trust even in our time of doubt. Like Joseph, we may at times need assurance. An angel may not visit us in our dreams, but encouragement may come in other forms: the kind words of friends, a Bible verse, or the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. With the reminder of the promise found in Jesus Christ, we can move forward from our doubt filled with the peace and courage for what lies ahead.
God, we give you thanks for the gift of faith. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are hard to believe. Hard to believe we are in the position and how we got there, and hard to see how you can be with us in this state. But in those periods of doubt, you provide us with the assurance we need to hear. We pray for all those who are struggling right now. Lord, use us to be that voice of encouragement to those in doubt. Please help us step out in faith, willing to do the things asked of us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.