When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (Matt. 1:24)

ARE YOU READY FOR CHRISTMAS? When I was growing up, one of my pastors was quite proud of the fact that he didn’t do any Christmas shopping until after the Christmas Eve service. Of course by then he had to buy all his presents at a pharmacy.

People prepare for Christmas in different ways.

This passage of Scripture tells the Christmas story from the point of view of Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. Joseph almost missed the first Christmas. We know that Joseph was a just man; he was faithful to the law. We can read between the lines and see that he truly loved Mary. Because he didn’t want to disgrace her, he was willing to divorce her quietly.

Imagine if he had divorced her. Mary would have been considered an adulterous woman, and adultery carried a heavy penalty. Joseph was so connected to the worldly system in front of him that he almost missed what God had planned for him. When God spoke to him, Joseph became willing to love Mary and face the shame of people who assumed he was the baby’s father (before becoming the husband).

When we decide to follow God, it may not make sense to the world around us. It may not even make sense to us. But it is always the right thing to do.

As you prepare for Christmas, ask yourself what worldly values you hold that might be keeping you from seeing God.

Jeff Hughes lives in Nebraska with his wife, Sarah, and their three kids. They spend their weekends outdoors hiking, camping, and skiing.