How was your 2018? Was it fun—did you vacation and enjoy family and friends? Did you accomplish all those goals you set for yourself last New Years Eve—such as running to get in shape, or advancing in your work place, or reconnecting with someone?
Perhaps, like me, you had a few set backs. Perhaps you allowed anger and pride to steal previously enjoyable family time—again! And maybe, your main goal for the year, somehow got swallowed up by something beyond your control? I hate when that happens!
While Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth and Mary was still with child, the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, declared a census of the entire Roman empire.
Pregnancy or not, you don’t keep an Emperor waiting! Augustus decided he needed a population count for military and tax reasons. Though Jews were not required to serve in the military, they most definitely were required to pay taxes.
So Joseph took his pregnant fiancee, Mary, and made the seventy mile journey to Bethlehem. He traveled to because men were required to return to their hometown; Joseph was a descendent of King David and Joseph’s family came from Bethlehem.
Joseph from Nazareth, a descendent of David pledged to marry the virgin, Mary, received a personal message of hope from God. Delivered by an angel, Joseph understood God’s direction to fulfill his part in God’s divine plan.
The message to this local carpenter was the answer to a unique personal dilemma Joseph was struggling with at the time of the angel’s encounter.
And Joseph’s obedience would forever change the direction of our world!
The word joy appears 218 times in 210 verses of the New International Version of the Bible. God absolutely wants His children to desire, seek, attain, and boldly live in joy!
As a child during vacation Bible school, we often sang the Joy Joy Joy Joy song. I really enjoyed that song because our leaders encouraged us to sing it enthusiastically LOUD.
My memories are vivid—I was always happy and cheerful while we sang that inspiring song. Now as an adult, I totally appreciate going deeper into the meaning of that song, resonating in those unadorned lyrics.