Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’ (Mt. 1:19-20)
We can’t blame Joseph if he initially had a hard time believing Mary’s story. What an awkward and painful conversation that must have been: “Joseph, I’m pregnant, but it’s not what you think. I haven’t been with a man. This is God’s child.”
Soon after Joseph had decided to save Mary from public shame, an angel came to him in a dream. In that dream the angel confirmed what Mary had told him. Her swelling belly held God’s child.
There are many examples in scripture of God speaking to us in dreams. Sometimes in the dreams of the night. Sometimes in the dreams of the day. God hasn’t stopped giving messages through dreams. God still speaks through them.
If we believe we’ve been given a dream from God, I encourage us to pay attention and to seek help in discerning it. Although God can speak in our dreams, not all of our dreams come from God.
If after discernment and prayer we believe our dream is from God, I encourage us to lean into making it a reality. If the dream is about bringing more love, peace, kindness, and fairness into the world, we can trust that our dream is from God.
Because Joseph believed his dream from God, and because he trusted Mary, he was able to help bring Jesus into the world. If Joseph didn’t believe the dream, he could have had her stoned to death. No more Mary. No more Jesus. No more hope of reconciliation with God.
When we believe the dreams God sends our way and trust that God has something important for us to do, we can be part of bringing the mercy and grace of Jesus to others. Joseph was an instrument of the Lord because he believed the dream. We can be the same when we believe and live into the dreams that God sends to us.
- Joseph’s “supportive” role helped to bring Jesus into the world. Is there a supportive role you could be playing now to bring more of the presence of Jesus to others?
- God gives dreams to all. Do you know God’s dream for you? Are you living into it?
- Even though Joseph must have felt betrayed and could have had Mary stoned to death, he instead showed mercy. Does his example speak to any pain or betrayal in your own life?