. . . 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. 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.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (NIV) Matthew 1:20-21; 24
The appearance: Mary, who is pledged to be married to Joseph, is pregnant before their marriage.
The options: Joseph could confess that he is not the father and allow Mary to be condemned as an adultress and possibly face death. Or, he could lie and say he was the father.
The reality: Mary was pregnant in a unique and miraculous way – Jesus was virgin born, supernaturally conceived, fulfilling Isaiah 7:14.
The appearance: Mary and Joseph had a illegitimate child. Jesus would have been disqualified from normal worship in the synagogues.
The reality: Jesus is the One who was, who is, and who is to come. . . He alone is worthy of our worship!
Often appearances are the opposite of reality and thus require faith. Joseph demonstrated his faith by believing the reality of what God had said to him rather than believing in the appearance of the situation. For us today, the appearance is that another holiday season has approached. We’ve been taught to say: “Happy Holidays”, not “Merry Christmas”. We plan to spend extra time and money buying gifts. We sing Christmas carols and feel good. But, the reality is that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit. He lived a sinless life and thus was qualified to become the sin-bearer for the sins of men. Are you celebrating Christmas – are you living your life – according to appearances or reality?