Emmanuel with Joseph
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid… Matthew 1:20
I’ve never really taken the time to take Joseph’s perspective. He’s a grown man whose teenage wife-to-be is scandalously pregnant. To make things worse, she’s saying God got her pregnant. In his “kindness”, he plans to divorce her quietly rather than making a big deal in their tiny village of Nazareth. (Not sure small-town life is ever quietly done…pretty sure all would know and talk anyway). Joseph must be hurt, upset and think Mary has gone CRA-zy! Then the angel appears to him in a dream to tell him not to be afraid of joining his life with Mary's and that the baby is indeed from God. When he wakes up, Joseph is a changed man. I wonder how his view of Mary changed in that moment, from loose lunatic to chosen mother of God’s own Son. I bet he is in awe of her position and respects her more for it. He instantly, courageously obeys the angel’s message, takes Mary to be his wife, no more doubts. He accepts this new shared adventure with Mary. He submits to the interruption of God in their life plans. Up until this point, I imagine he had a life path laid out before them in Nazareth…carpentry, small village life, kids, family, obscurity. In the blink of an eye that cozy plan is upended and they spend the next years running from murderous kings, hiding out in Egypt, and finally years later back to their home town where few would believe their story. Joseph becomes Jesus’s earthly protector. From here on out he follows each call of the angel in his dreams. I want to be more like Joseph, able to flex when God interrupts my plans and rise to the challenge of whatever He calls me to because he is with me as he was with Joseph.
Thank you, Emmanuel, for your presence with Joseph, for appearing to him just how he needed and changing his heart. Thank you for meeting us where we are as well. We pray that you’d help us to be more like Joseph today, to allow your life interruptions to mold us into your people. Oh, Father, help us to trust you even when we don’t understand all the details that lay before us.
Emmanuel with Mary
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, so the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35
Mary, a poor teenage girl from a village far from anywhere important. God sends an angel to her to announce the most defining moment of her life. She is to mother the Son of God! The angel's words "The Holy Spirit will come upon you" and "overshadow you" have always seemed mysterious to me. I really don't know what they mean except that by the creative life-giving power of God, cells inside Mary began to divide and cleave and grow into God. When I was pregnant with my three kids, I loved getting to feel them move inside me. I loved imagining what they would be like and how life would go for them. Can you imagine knowing that for nine months, God himself is growing inside you. That it is God who is kicking you in the ribs, God who makes you crave ice cream and have a crazy sense of smell. The very bump that brings ridicule and judgement in her community is really her growing God belly. Now, we are not going to be pregnant with God, but what if we allowed him to interrupt our lives with his call and basked in his perpetual Presence as Mary did? How would that change your self-worth, your inner monologue, your responses to your family and community? It would sure change me, grow my confidence, and give me a peace that is solid despite the struggles of each day. I wish I could sit and chat with Mary and listen to her reflections on life with Jesus.
Lord, thank you for coming as a fragile baby, for taking on our humanity, for understanding us. We pray that you'd help us submit to your interruptions in our lives. Help us to let you fill us with your Spirit in re-make us into your children. May your Holy Spirit overflow us and ignite us with a passion for your life and purpose and glory. Help us to be more like Mary today.
Our Good Shepherd
He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11
Two days in a row of favorite verses. This one I consider my mama verse. Oh, how I love the sweet gentleness of our Savior described here. Our good shepherd does not beat his sheep into submission. He lifts them in his arms and carries them against his chest. I imagine the lamb resting its soft head against his chest and hearing the lulling thump-thump of his heart beat. I want to be that lamb. (insert a deep breath here). Then it continues. He gently leads us mamas (and papas) who have young. Gently. Don’t we need to be led gently? We are so hard on ourselves…okay at least I am. Opinions about mothering jab at us at every turn…sleeping, feeding, potty training, homework battles, screen time, the list goes on, but I’ll stop there cuz I don’t want to send any new mamas into a panic attack! Jesus knows us mamas and he knows our sweet (or sometimes not so sweet!) lambs. He gently leads us. Oh, how I need that today. Oh, how I am thankful that he knows my kiddos and their strengths and struggles. Rest in his leading you today, sweet mama. He’s got you and your people.
Father, thank you for being our gentle shepherd, caring for our babies and leading us mamas. We need your presence with us today. Thank you for continually reminding us this month of your being near us, with us, within us and of your mighty power. This mom-life can be overwhelming. We need you to guide us. Show us the way to go as we parent our kids, no matter what stage of life they are in.
Hi. I'm Maggie. Current hats: Wife, mom, artist and starting this week, a devotional writer! Enthusiastic, creative, focused. I love chai tea lattes, and authentic conversations.