Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Interruptions

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US." And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25

Often an interruption brings on a knee-jerk reaction. We make decisions that, if we were better informed, we would not make. We must be careful that when we face an interruption, we don’t just react according to our own fears and feelings. We might make a serious mistake.

The key to handling an interruption is to get God’s take on it.  Thankfully, God rescued Joseph from his error.  I can imagine Joseph, having learned of Mary’s situation, tossing and turning in bed, trying to decide what to do.  Finally, he decides. He will divorce her privately. Having decided, he finds enough peace to get to sleep.  But while he is sleeping an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream.  Joseph awoke with a changed mind.  He would not divorce Mary. He would take her as his wife and help raise this miraculous child.  He had gotten God’s perspective of his interruption.

When you encounter an interruption, whatever it may be, don’t react according to your own feelings and thoughts. Seek God’s direction. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Here are three words to remember when you encounter an interruption.
The first word is prayer. The first thing to do when your life is interrupted is stop and pray. Pray for guidance. Pray for courage. Pray for help. But pray. When you look to God He will help you. 

The second word is perspective. Put the interruption in the proper perspective. How bad is it really? How long will it actually be important? What difference will it make in eternity? 

The third word is providence. Keep in mind that God, in His providence, is still in control of your life. Nothing can happen to you without the leave and notice of your Father. He still has all of the hairs on your head numbered. 

Interruptions can at times redirect our lives in a new and positive way. This was true of Joseph and Mary. Their plans were interrupted, but oh what an interruption. Can you imagine a more wonderful privilege, or a more challenging responsibility, than to be the human parents of the Son of God? The direction their future took was not what they had planned, but it was so much better.

Have you ever considered that God could do that kind of thing in your life? Not that you would be made the parents of the Son of God, but that God would take what seems to be an interruption, an unforeseen problem, and use it to set your life on a new and better path.

Whatever interruption you may be enduring right now, why not look at it in a different light, and ask, “God, are you using this to do something great in my life?” Then begin to look for the marvelous things He will do.

Scripture to Claim:
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke 2:7

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