Christmas Dreaming Joseph Style (Or what happens when God’s dreams for your life interrupt your dreams for your life)

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”

That’s how the song goes. For many, Christmas is about making dreams come true.

We all have dreams for our lives – dreams of not only our holidays, but of what every day of our future will look like.

I’ll bet that Joseph had dreams.

He had reached adulthood, learned a trade, was betrothed to a young woman named Mary who, if she found favor with the Lord, must have been a devoted and godly Israelite girl.

I imagine he had dreams of a simple life – a future plying his trade in Nazareth, building a home with his wife and raising sons and daughters to love the Lord.

Joseph’s humble gentleness is evidenced by the fact that when his dreams began to unravel – his betrothed is found to be with child and Joseph, more than anyone, knows this child is not his own – he does not seek to “expose Mary to public disgrace but has in mind to divorce her quietly.”

This is a good man. This is a man of integrity.

But this is also a man who sees his life’s dream slip from his grasp in a moment.

But God also has dreams for us. He is our Father and we are His idea. So it comes as no surprise that He should have dreams for our lives.

While Joseph is asleep, an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and assures him that Mary’s child is of the Holy Spirit. She is carrying the long-awaited Messiah of his people. The angel tells Joseph that he has a part in this plan that will change the world.

So, Joseph does what the angel commands and takes Mary home to be his wife.

Things are not playing out in accordance with his original dreams.

No man dreams of taking a wife home and “having no union with her” until she gives birth to someone else’s child.

No man dreams of hearing whispers about his wife in the tavern or having the locals hide their glances when he passes. No man dreams of starting a new life under a cloud of public suspicion and derision.

No man dreams of traveling with his pregnant wife to a distant city under government edict and having little money and no place for her to rest. No man dreams of making a bed of hay among the livestock when it comes his wife’s time to deliver his first child.

No man dreams of this but this was God’s dream for Joseph.

Of course, no man would never have dreamed that a star would appear in the heavens to herald the birth of his firstborn son nor that a choir of angels would make the birth announcement to shepherds who would seek him out and offer their worship to the little one swaddled and cradled in his young wife’s arms.

Nor could he have dreamed of the danger the little one was in or the adventure on which they would embark to protect him, this baby whom the God of the Heavens entrusted into Joseph’s earthly care.

This was a dream he could not have dreamed but in surrendering to God’s plan for his life, Joseph lived a better dream.

This is true for us all. If we surrender to Him our dreams for ourselves, we awaken to His dreams for us and live out the story He wrote for our lives which is one single thread woven into a greater story – one that will be told into eternity.

I Corinthians 1:9 says this: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Joseph loved God and found a life he could never have dreamed for himself.

Do you have dreams? Have you seen dreams crushed and lost? Are you willing to surrender your dreams to live the dream God has for you?

Maybe this year, instead of dreaming of a white Christmas, you can dream His dream for your life.

Have you seen your dreams crushed? Surrender it to God and find His better dream for you, fellow adventurer.

One day, we’ll all gather with Joseph and swap stories.

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” Matthew 1:18-25

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1 Comment

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  1. Tammy Smith says:

    I love this post and I’ve passed it along to my small adoption support group.We all have adopted children,but unlike Joseph’s ‘adopted’ Son,ours come not perfect,but broken in both physical and emotional ways.Lots and lots of patience! I never would have believed anyone who told me that I would be adopting,raising and homeschooling children in my very late 40’s! But here I am,living out the LORD’S dream! Though it’s hard work,the LORD sends much laughter and beautiful moments where I glimpse His work in my children’s hearts and I get to take front row seat to witness it….now that’s pretty special.Again Lori,the LORD works in my heart through your writing.I thank Jesus for your gift,that you share so abundantly!