Advent JOY #5 – Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans!

Are you perplexed, bewildered, or confused about changes that have come into your life? Mary and Joseph had to change their plans often. Why not ask God to help you lean into these changes? God can give you the best results ever when you willingly exchange your plans for God's plans! #podcasat

Image: The Dream of St. Joseph by Mengs, 1773

Perplexed? Exchange Your Plans for God’s Plans!

Are you perplexed or bewildered over changes that have come into your life? Mary and Joseph had to change their plans often. Why not ask God to help you lean into these changes? God can give you the best results ever when you willingly exchange your plans for God’s plans!

Advent JOY

Welcome to Advent JOY Podcast #5, based on my book The Joy Of Advent: Journey With The People, Events And Prayers At The First Coming Of Jesus Christ.  Today, we travel with Matthew’s Gospel and meet some unexpected members in Jesus’ ancestry and hear of Joseph’s dream and his faithfulness to Mary. Matthew fills us in on details of Mary’s return home to her betrothed Joseph after her visit with Elizabeth.

The Family Record (Mathew  1: 1-7, 16-17)

  • So, we start with Matthew 1. At the time of Jesus, families kept a genealogical record (or family tree) for use in the distribution of inherited property and other rights under Jewish laws.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI points out that Matthew 1 is not a perfect historical account that includes every single member in the ancestry of Jesus Christ, saying: ”This was not Matthew’s goal.“ (Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, 2012, p. 8).
  • Matthew wrote to appeal to the Jews by placing Jesus first and foremost as the Son of Abraham—the Patriarch and Father of Israel promised as part of an everlasting covenant with God (Genesis 17: 6-7), and as the Son of David—the priestly King of Israel, whose ancestors were prophesied to reign forever (2 Samuel: 7:13).

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba in the Lineage of Jesus

  • Jewish lineages at the time of Christ, usually did not contain names of women. But in Matthew’s list of Christ’s ancestry five women are mentioned. Of course, we would expect the  Blessed Virgin Mary to be named. But there were four others listed—Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba who came from foreign ancestry or had a reputation for immorality that could have disqualified them from inclusion in the lineage of Jesus Christ.  All were Gentile women, who turned away from immoralities or idolatries to become faithful to God in their circumstances.
  • Even if your past life or your “family tree” seems dishonorable, Jesus will give you forgiveness, grace, mercy, and a new beginning when you turn to Him for mercy and forgiveness. You are part of the family of God, and every day you can have a new life in Christ. Hebrews 2: 11 reinforces this: “God is not ashamed to call them [or you] brothers and sisters.”
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writing on the deeper meaning of the genealogies of Jesus says:

“[T]hose who believe in Jesus enter through faith into Jesus’ unique new origin, and they receive this origin as their own…Jesus was not begotten by Joseph but was truly born of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, so it can now be said of us that our true ‘genealogy’ is faith in Jesus who gives us a new origin  and …to birth ‘from God” (Jesus of Nazareth, p. 12-13).

Found with Child (Matthew 1: 18-25)

  • Dreams were a common way that God communicated with His people in the Old Testament. Joseph did not hesitate in his response to the angel in the dream. He trusted God to work everything out. He willingly exchanged his plans for God’s plans. In fact we could say he leaned into God’s plans.
  • And Joseph, from the tribe of Judah and the house of David, who was a carpenter by trade, became the legal head of this precious family (Abbott Ricciotti, The Life of Christ, 1947).  What a role model Joseph is to families—looking for God’s plans and leaning into them. This was the beginning of Joseph’s mission for life. Some have said it this way, Joseph was born for this vocation — to be the father of Jesus and to be Mary’s most chaste spouse. Like Mary, Joseph said, “yes” to his vocation. His entire happiness was in knowing what God wanted him to do and carrying it out to the end ( Fernandez, Conversation with God, Vol. 1, 1997). He was devoted to God and family.

Our Response

  1. Lean into God’s Plans. Can you picture the perplexity or bewilderment of Joseph when his plans suddenly  changed? He may have been building the house, planning the wedding, or earning extra money for the marriage. Whatever the case, he was not prepared to hear that Mary was with child.  Then God through an angel in a dream gave him more direction.  He leaned in the changes. You can ask yourself: Am I open to changing my plans to fit with God’s plan? Talk to Jesus about how you can stay open to God’s plans? What changes can you lean into?
  2. Accept Your Place in God’s Family. When you feel unworthy or unqualified to be part of our Lords family and an adopted son or daughter of God, remember Tamar, Rahab, Ruth. These women changed direction to follow God with their lives and they joined His family and are listed in lineage of Jesus. Your family is never too far gone or too unworthy.  In prayer, consider asking God to forgive you and your family. Ask him to help you change directions.  Then do what he tells you.
  • You can download a Bookmark of prayer points from the Advent JOY Podcast #5 at my website: WRAPyYourselfinJOY.com

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Click here to find the book: The Joy of Advent: Journey with the People, Events and Prayers at the First Coming of Jesus Christ.

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