A Christmas Reflection…
The end of a decade and here we are… Christmas is around the corner and there are 2 things I would like to bring to mind in this last blog post for 2019.
Gratitude for the year
Having been blessed to be granted with some team time in the last few weeks, it’s become very clear just how incredibly BIG the year has been for each person on the VM team. From moving to the big city and starting tertiary study; welcoming and raising a new child, to tackling new employment; embracing community service, to new ventures away from the team. 2019 certainly has been a mammoth year of challenges, growth, and development.
The year 2020 will no doubt bring with it, new opportunities, adventures and lessons and we are ready to take them on. Make sure you stay in touch as we reveal the NEW Directions and Projects Virtue Ministry will be undertaking in 2020. We cannot wait to share them with you!
As a team, we want to thank you for the support and encouragement you have given us over the year. Many of you take the time to strike a conversation in our day to day, and to send us words of encouragement and comfort in our inboxes and these are very much valued, but none more so than the prayers you offer for us, which sustains our work in ministry.
Thank you SO Much!
A Christmas reflection
Each Advent tends to bring with it its own theme; a word, a phrase, or a thought to meditate on. Whether that be the joy of family and friends, the peace of the season, the courage of Mary in Saying Yes to the invitation to be the Mother of Jesus, or the innocent lamb that would enter into the world as a sacrifice for us. These last few years Joseph has become a better friend to me, or rather, I have tried to be better acquainted with him.
Gentle Joseph, upon hearing the news of expectant Mary tried to do the most noble thing of leaving Mary be, silently, so as to protect her. With a message in a dream, Joseph courageously accepts this role of being the most chaste spouse to Mary, and foster father to the Saviour of the World – His saviour. No man has received a higher mission than Joseph, to be foster father to the Son of God. Over the years, I have often pondered the inadequacy he must have felt in this, to be in the presence of Mary and Jesus, day in and day out. What a privilege, but what a burden. The icky parts of ourselves that we try to not to see, our faults and failings, the closer we get to God the more they become known to us and the more we desire them gone. Holding the child Jesus, God made man in his arms, I can only imagine the joy of privilege, the sorrow for his sins and the hope of redemption he must have felt.
This little baby boy growing into his manhood would no doubt have looked to Joseph, a man of silence in scripture, as an example.
God entrusted the role of guiding Jesus in his manhood, and raising this divine child, to Joseph.
What kind of man must Joseph have been then? What kind of qualities must he have possessed?
One of the qualities of Joseph most visible to me this Christmas is SURRENDER. Not a waving the white flag, I give up, but rather a whole-hearted and trust filled surrender. A faithful surrender. Joseph not only travels to Bethlehem with a very pregnant wife (which at such a late stage of pregnancy would not have been a small feat) but sometime after Jesus’ birth flees to Egypt with Mary and their newborn. Joseph leads, supports, and protects by faithfully surrendering his family to God’s command. Upon trying to find an inn, Joseph would have exhausted every thought, idea and possibility to provide for his wife. With no other option, he could only offer to Mary – the woman of his dreams, a stable to bring Jesus into the world. Again, what turmoil must his heart have experienced being unable to find anything better for the Mother of God, yet he humbly surrenders. To think, the beloved carpenter Joseph would go on to create, with whatever he could find in a stable, a place to lay baby Jesus on his arrival.
How his heart must have yearned to build something more fitting for the King of kings with the God-given gift of his craftsmanship, yet he patiently surrenders.
That first moment a father gazes upon his first born and realises ‘because of you, I am now a father’, surely would have crossed Joseph’s mind too as he gazed upon the face of Jesus. Just as Mary asked how she might be mother to Jesus being a Virgin, I can only imagine Joseph would have asked how it is that he could be foster father to the Son of Man when he had no part in bringing this divine child into being? Yet, he trustingly surrenders.
There are so many moments with Joseph that are untold, that we can only ponder. Yet within this silence, he demonstrates the greatness we can each be called to when we surrender faithfully, whole-heartedly and completely to God. This Christmas I pray Joseph guides you to see the areas in your life you have yet to surrender to God. Whether that be the unknown and uncertainty the new year may bring, potential career and vocation directions, where you and your significant other are at or relationships with family and friends. I pray that you courageously open your heart to hear what God is asking of you, and faithfully surrender to his will, knowing that Jesus is waiting to be born and received into each of our hearts.
Let Joseph show you how to prepare for that this Christmas.
From all of us here at Virtue Ministry,
wishing you and yours a Very Happy & Holy Christmas!