A little over a couple thousand years ago a good man was engaged to be married.  During the engagement his fiancé came to him and told him she was pregnant.  Knowing the two of them had not been intimate (remember, he was a good man) this threw him for an incredible loop.  He was hurt and confused and a little angry.  To top it off she told him it hadn’t happened because she’d been unfaithful to him.  No, she told this whopper of a story that she had been impregnated by God himself, the Holy Spirit.  Guys, I don’t know about you but my first inclination would be to think that either A) she’s lying and she had slept with someone else or B) she’s just nuts.  Neither scenario is good.

However, despite those two scenarios this really good guy resolves to quietly break off the engagement so as not to disgrace his fiancé.  He probably figured that when the baby arrived she would catch enough grief as it was.  Simple plan, right?  Completely understandable, correct?  No one would blame him.  In fact many would probably say he handled the situation with grace.  In the end, that’s not how things unfolded though.

Not long after he resolves to cut her slack and break the engagement the wildest thing happens, he has a dream and in the dream he gets instructions that run completely counter to what he has every right to do.  In his dream an angel tells him not to be afraid of keeping the engagement and marrying his fiancé.  This baby she’s carrying did come from the Holy Spirit and will save people from their sins.  He’s even told what to name this new little boy.  When the guy wakes up he follows what he’s been told to do.  You can read the whole thing here.

As you’ve probably guessed, this guy’s name was Joseph and he faced a dilemma none of us ever have.  However, his doubts were just like our doubts would have been had we been faced with this decision.  In fact, although we’ve never been in this exact situation, we face these crossroads today.  Like him, we have reasonable, justified and understandable directions we can go.  These are options no one will blame us for taking.   The hope though is that we will listen to another, less popular, even countercultural voice.

When we wake up, if we wake up, we will follow the direction given us by angels.  Because if we’re truly awake we realize our actions need to be guided by their message not the message of the world.  We’re meant to follow their urgings, whether in a dream or while we’re awake, through hearing them loud and clear or just as a whisper in our ear.  The world tells us we have every right and it’s completely permissible to act otherwise.  No one will blame us and yet acting under the direction of a higher power is the way we’re supposed to go.  It’s my hope that I, that we all, will listen and heed the message we’re given.

Which way do you find yourself turning most of the time?  I know I hear the message but I don’t always listen and sometimes when I listen I still don’t act.  It’s a challenge that’s been around as long as there have been people I imagine.  In the end I think we can learn a thing or two from Joseph.

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