My thoughts (Penny Dean):
Do the Right Thing
For the past few months, I’ve been keeping a dream journal. It’s full of vehicles, weirdness and distant relatives. No unearthed mysteries or deep insights for me. Some self-help experts suggest posing questions to your subconscious before going to sleep. Your dreams are then supposed to provide answers to your dilemma. I’ve never had much luck with that. Nor are my dreams anything like the one Joseph had. He had an angel tell him exactly what to do.
The Message describes Joseph as “noble,” an apt word for a man who did not want to disgrace his betrothed even though she was pregnant with someone else’s child. Before the angel appeared in his dream and told him not to fear, Joseph “was trying to figure a way out” of this conundrum. I can imagine him deep in thought as he worked, or tossing and turning as he slept. Yet legally, Joseph was within his rights to break the engagement. No one would have blamed him for that. In fact, they would have believed he had done the right thing. But Joseph did as the angel bade him: he took Mary as his wife, named the baby “Jesus”, and raised Jesus as his own.
Friends and family doubtlessly questioned Joseph’s judgment, but he plowed ahead anyway. He knew that doing the right things doesn’t always make sense. Often it can be quite hard. Joseph had to live with himself and I doubt somehow he could’ve had he broken his engagement to Mary. He realized his life was between him and God and no one else.
Reaching a conclusion I can live with usually comes from making a series of small choices — not from my dreams. As I work through my quandary, making small decisions along the way, the answer to the larger question becomes clearer. Even then, the right thing doesn’t always make perfect sense. In fact, it may take months or years before I can look back and say, “I did the right thing back then.” Meanwhile, like Joseph, I try to make choices I can live with. Knowing my life is between me and God, I have to do what I believe to be the right thing. And so do you.
Thought for the day: Do you feel as though some issue in your life is too big for you to handle? What small choice can you make today to make that situation a little more bearable?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.