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December 9: Wonderful, Difficult Things


As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”


All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:


“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”


When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:20-25


Lord, thank you for the wonderful, difficult things in my life.Reflection

After Mary told Joseph she was pregnant with the Son of God, Joseph was understandably shaken. He trusted Mary. She had never lied to him before, but this was too much to believe. Was she trying to cover an indiscretion? Was she going crazy? What should he do?

“I’ll quietly break up with her. I don’t want to subject her to public disgrace if I can avoid it.” Then he went to sleep and had a dream.

In the dream, the angel of the Lord said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The child was conceived by the Holy Spirit and is, indeed, the Son of God. You are to name him Jesus. You have been chosen to have a significant role in raising the Son of God, who will save his people from their sins.”

Joseph woke up. Mary was right. He had been wrong to doubt her integrity. He did everything the angel of the Lord commanded. In due time, he took Mary to be his wife.

Can you see how the lives of people are intertwined? God chose Mary, but he did not choose her in isolation. Mary’s destiny was also tied to the people around her, especially Joseph, so God had to work in their hearts, too.

Do you ever feel out of sync with others? Remember, just as God is working in your heart and life, he’s also working in the hearts and lives of others. Not everything will sync precisely, but things will come together in God’s time. Sometimes the best thing we can do for those around us is to pray for God’s work in their lives because the condition of their hearts affects others. It’s a ripple effect.

No matter what kind of difficult situation or relationship tension you might experience, God is working quietly in the hearts and lives of everyone involved. Trust him to change others from the inside out the same way he changes you.




Lord, thank you for the wonderful, difficult things in my life. The way you work things out is wonderful, indescribable even. Please change me from the inside out so I am always ready to see you at work in situations and in the lives of those around me. Please work in the lives of others, too, changing them just as you change me to be more like you. Remind me to be patient with others, knowing they may not have the same growth path that I have experienced. We all grow in different areas at different times. Give me grace to be kind and loving toward all.




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