12/25/16: Christmas Dreams
Dream #1: Matthew 1:20 says, “But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit’” (NKJ). Joseph’s virgin fiancé had broken the news to him that an angel had told her she was pregnant. Mary had probably never lied to him before, but he knew pregnancy didn’t happen like that. Joseph needed to know what to believe, so the angel confirmed Mary’s story to him in a dream.
Dream #2: The second dream was given to the Wise Men. In their quest to find the new King, they had done the logical thing and approached the reigning king. Surely Herod would know where the new king would be born. Unfortunately, Herod was an evil, crazed lunatic who was threatened rather than thrilled by this revelation. With Herod’s deceitful request to bring him word back so he could also go and worship the new king, the Wise Men had continued on their journey. Once they found Jesus, Matthew 2:12 tells us, “Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” God had told them who to avoid.
Dream #3: In the very next verse, God has to get the holy family out of town because Herod was going to figure out he had been disobeyed by the Wise Men. Matthew 2:13 says, “Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’” God effectively told Joseph where to run for safety.
Dream #4: Joseph was not to live in Egypt permanently. After a while, Matthew 2:19-20 records, “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’” God let Joseph know it was time to face the past.
Dream #5: As Joseph led his family back, he got some disturbing news. “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’” Matthew 2:22-23. Herod’s son, Archelaus was even worse than his father, so Joseph was justifiably afraid. It is said that God is in the details. Even as Joseph went about obediently following God’s directions, he had to keep listening so God could tell him how to handle the specifics.
What to believe, who to avoid, where to run for safety, when to face the past, and how to handle the specifics: if we’re listening, God still speaks to us today and directs us concerning these very same things. As He cared for His Son at the beginning of His earthly life, He continues to care for us who are joint-heirs with Jesus.
God’s messages may come to us through dreams, visions, sermons, reading the Word, meditation during prayer, or observations of nature. This Christmas, may we remember not only the exciting coming of our Savior, but also the extraordinary concern of our God to order Joseph’s strides, the Wise Men’s search, and our steps.
©2016 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.
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