Peace in the Chaos

Joseph’s experience
When the nativity story is told, we mostly hear about Mary, the mother of Jesus. For centuries, Mary has been extolled and honored, as she should be. Joseph, however, has often been regarded as a mere footnote to the story.
Today, I’d like us to look at the Christmas experience of Joseph.
Matthew 1: 18-25
 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
We can experience God’s peace in the middle of chaos when we obey.
Introduction
· Joseph would have been experiencing anything but peace. His fiancée was pregnant, his village probably thought he was an idiot, and he had to travel to Bethlehem to register for the census. His life was a mess, and he couldn’t control it.
· But in reading the Christmas story, we don’t even see a hint of stress from Joseph. It was certainly there, but that’s not what stuck out about this man. None of the biblical authors record anything negative about Joseph—not even close. Instead, he is portrayed as a righteous man, a fitting husband and father for the Messiah.
· There is peace in Joseph’s life—even though his world was spinning out of control. Joseph’s story in Matthew 1 gives us a glimpse into the peace of God, even in the middle of chaos, because Joseph did things God’s way.
1. Compassion
Matthew 1:18-19
 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
· Joseph is faced with the difficult decision of what to do with Mary. She became pregnant outside of wedlock, and she could face any number of consequences. But, rather than responding out of anger, Joseph’s initial response is out of compassion.
2. Pray
Matthew 1:20-21
 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
· Joseph has a dream in which God tells him what to do. I don’t know if God will speak to us like that all the time—though He certainly can. But I do know that giving God a chance to weigh in on difficult decisions is the way to peace.
3. Obey
Matthew 1:24-25
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.
· Verse 24 is probably the most important verse in this whole passage. Joseph had godly motives—compassion—and he let God speak into the decision. The danger is hearing what God wants and then doing something different.
A church’s kids ministry was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted to be Joseph so bad, but when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn-keeper instead. He was pretty upset about this but he didn’t say anything to the director.
During all the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of performance to get even with this rival who got to be Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted.
Joseph answered, "We’d like to have a room for the night." Suddenly the inn-keeper threw the door open wide and said, "Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!"
For a few seconds poor little Joseph didn’t know what to do. Thinking quickly on his feet, he looked inside the door past the inn-keeper then said, "No wife of mine is going to stay in dump like this. Come on, Mary, let’s go to the barn." -And once again the play was back on track!
In all the Christmas pageants performed, Joseph doesn’t get a starring role, but his part is so important. His task is to watch over Mary and the baby Jesus. Joseph had the important role of caring for the needs of others.
When our lives take a nasty turn, we cry out, like Joseph must have cried out, "God, how can this be?" But like Joseph, we hear a still small voice from God saying, "Trust Me."