// Kenneth W. Hagin
FOR MOST PEOPLE, Christmas is filled with joy, peace, and goodwill. However, the events leading up to the first Christmas were fairly traumatic for one person. His name was Joseph.
MATTHEW 1:18–21, 24 (NKJV)
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 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.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.
We can imagine what Joseph's life was like before the news. He had a carpentry business, which was probably successful. And just like any other couple, we can assume that Joseph and Mary talked about things they wanted to do when they got married.
Then Joseph discovered the unimaginable. Mary was pregnant, and his life had suddenly turned upside down. She tried to explain what happened, but Joseph couldn't make any sense of it. He began to fear his future. But hearing the words, "Do not be afraid," changed everything.
We may experience situations that we don't understand. God is saying to us "Do not be afraid." Sometimes when things don't make sense, we jump to the wrong conclusions. Joseph could easily have done this. But before we pass judgment on anyone or on our own situations, we need to seek God and pray.
When we are stressed-out, we need to hear God say, "Do not be afraid." Matthew 1:20 (NKJV) says, "But while he thought about these things." Obviously, Joseph spent some time thinking about the situation. Can you imagine his state of mind? In all likelihood, he spent days and sleepless nights worrying about what people would think and what he should do. In verse 19 it says that Joseph was making plans to divorce Mary secretly. But God's plan was quickly revealed.
We often do the same when we find ourselves in situations, which from an outward perspective, don't look good. After a while, it only causes confusion and stress.
In the same way that God worked out a wonderful plan for Joseph and Mary, He will do the same for us. We just have to decide not to be afraid and believe. We can't allow ourselves to give into pressure and make quick decisions. If we'll just quiet our minds, God's plan will be revealed.
We don't have to be fearful in any situation. God can turn our circumstances around. Instead of defeat, we'll experience victory. Instead of stress, we will have peace. Instead of having nothing, there will be blessings. Sometimes we look at a situation and think it's bad. We don't understand why it happened. But as we trust God, we often see that it leads us to our future!
When I turned 18 years old, I was required to register for the draft with the U.S. Armed Forces. At that time, they had a lottery, and if your number came up, you were drafted. If you were in college, especially Bible college, you got a deferment. I was in a car accident and dropped below the college hours I needed. I signed up for summer school but a new person started working. They didn't send my name in, and I lost my deferment.
My number came up, and I had to report for duty. I didn't want to be drafted and become a foot soldier. So I went down and joined and ended up serving in the Army Security Agency. Everyone thought it was a bad situation, myself included.
I've often looked back at the different situations I've gone through, starting with leaving Bible school in 1962 to enlist in the Army. I can see that every step of the way prepared me to be who I am and do what I do today. What looked like a bad situation was really God's plan. With God, our lives are planned journeys that He wants to unfold.
On that first Christmas God told Joseph, "Do not be afraid." He's saying the same thing to us today. It doesn't matter what the situation is. God is saying, "I'll turn it around. Just trust Me, and stay with Me. You'll walk through it and come out victoriously on the other side. Do not be afraid!"
FAITH IN ACTION
The Prince of Peace
Many people have accepted Christ as their Savior, but they haven't accepted Him as their Peace Giver. Jesus is not only our Savior—He is also our Peace and Problem Solver. To live in peace, we must guard our minds and control our thoughts.
Satan specializes in worry, fear, anxiety, confusion, and doubt. And he will bombard our minds with those things if we allow him to. Our minds are the only entrance Satan has into our lives. That's why it's so important that we not let him dominate our thoughts.
God has commanded us not to fear. And He has given us the ability to live fearlessly, when our surroundings would make us afraid. We can have the assurance that our Heavenly Father is constantly watching over us. As we trust in the Lord with all our hearts, we will receive the peace that passes all understanding from our Savior, Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Replace fearful thoughts with God's words of truth. Here are some scriptures to meditate on to maintain a peaceful mind.
2 Timothy 1:7
1 Peter 5:7