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Mark Lyndon-Jones

Counting the real cost of Christmas

When it comes to honouring God, we need to be more like Joseph, writes MPower Director Mark Lyndon-Jones

We all know that Christmas costs. The commercialisation of Christmas means that retailers are looking for our cash from September onwards – and that puts pressure on any guy!

Kate Hughes wrote in The Independent that families with children under 18 will spend between £1,000 to £2,700 in total at Christmas. Eye-watering! I hope you have a savings plan!

Christmas costs materially, emotionally and spiritually. I don’t mean tinsel, trinkets or a family ‘wow’ moment. I am talking about the cost to the king of heaven and to a couple who didn’t for a moment think that their hope for the Messiah would involve them – and alter their place in history forever.

And so the conversation in Joseph’s head plays out: “What just happened?” “How will I tell dad?” “Will I ever be allowed near home or the family carpentry business?” “Will I even be part of the family? Will we have a business left when the news gets out?” “What do I do with Mary…?” So many questions… Joseph was in a quandary.

He was a ‘righteous man’ (Matthew 1:19) and the son of Jacob (v16) who had just had his plans challenged and changed as a result of a visit from an angel carrying a powerful announcement about the Messiah’s coming (v20-21). He loved Mary, honoured God and longed to see God’s Rescuer on earth, but at what price? This was outside the expected norm. Participation would cost – it would raise eyebrows, bring the whiff of scandal, and the possibility of death.

How can we be men who – like Joseph – count the cost, make it through Christmas and honour the Lord?

Joseph was open to the Lord’s leading, a ‘righteous’ man who ‘considered’ encounters with the Lord. He put his relationship with God first, while still engaging his brain! He chose to overcome fear and live with the fulfilment of prophecy. He broke with tradition as he was led by the Lord.

The firstborn son should have been named after his father, but Joseph’s boy was to be ‘Immanuel – God with us’.

Joseph was a man of action who was obedient to God’s assignment as ‘he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him’. Here is a man who honoured the Lord and his wife to ensure there could be no suggestion that this was anything other than the Son of God being born to a virgin.

Because of Jesus, you and I become the ‘righteousness of God’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). We experience the reality of ‘God with us’. Even though it might be costly, doing everything the Lord commands we will see his plans fulfilled through our lives.

Count the cost this Christmas!

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