In the gospel of Matthew, we find an account of the birth of Jesus. It is a little different from the others as the beginning of it is more from Joseph’s perspective. It tells us of how he and Mary were betrothed and when she was found to be with child, he planned to quietly put her away. However, then he had a dream in which an angel told him to take Mary as his wife, as her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. It is quite an amazing story. There is however a question that I think is worth asking. Did Joseph have dreams? Not the kind he had at night, but the kind one has about the future. Specifically, what do you think his dreams for his marriage and possible future family were? I do not know, and the Bible does not tell us, but I think it is safe to say that they were probably different than what God had in store. In all likelihood, God’s plans and dreams for Joseph’s life were very different from what Joseph had in mind when he was betrothed to Mary. The truth is that sometimes God’s plan for our lives is very different than we may have hoped or dreamed. At times that can be a joyous thing, but other times it can be an extremely hard thing.
There is another thought that this story brings up. What would have happened to Joseph and Mary if they had never gotten betrothed and pursued a life together? Perhaps the lives they would have lived would have been more ‘normal’ but they would have missed out on raising the Son of God. So yes, it is true that sometimes allowing ourselves to dream can be hard and scary, because God might have something different in store. We must let God have our dreams and then act upon them as He leads. Yes, stepping out can be hard, but as long as we are following our Father in Heaven it is always going to be worth it. Sometimes we will not fully realize how worth it it was until we get to heaven, but it is always worth it to follow our Lord.
The last thought about dreams that the Christmas story brought to my mind this year was what kind of dreams did Jesus have? Yes, Jesus was most definitely fully God, but He was also fully man. As he was growing up did He have dreams of being a carpenter like His father or settling down and starting a family that did not quite fit with the plan of His ministry and the cross? We know that He lived the perfect life, so He obviously overcame any desires that were contrary to the will of the Father, but I think it is safe to say he would have at least had to learn to lay aside some of his dreams and desires so that He would be able to do the will of His Father in Heaven. The most obvious example of this would be the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was there praying, that if possible, the cup would pass over Him but ultimately that not His will but the Father’s be done. In Hebrews 12 we learn that it was for the joy set before Him that Jesus endured the cross. I think it is safe to say that at least a part of that joy was that he would be united with His bride through the sacrifice He made on the cross. We should remember that, because of what Christ did at the cross, we can be partakers in that joy through a relationship with Him and the promise of eternity with our Savior.
That verse in Hebrews also refers to Jesus as the founder and perfecter of our faith. It is an amazing reminder that even though Jesus was fully man and faced temptation, He was able to overcome it all and live the perfect life we could never live. He truly is not only the founder but also the perfecter of our faith. Because of this we can take comfort in knowing that the One who will never leave us or forsake us, Jesus Christ, knows what it is like to be a human walking this earth and having to submit your dreams and desires to the Father.
So this year let us remember that even if our dreams do not end up looking exactly like we may have hoped, that they still are worth stepping out and perusing, as long as we submit them to our Father in Heaven; and also that Jesus truly knows what it is like to walk through this life on earth. Jesus was willing to come to earth as a man to suffer and die for our sins so that we might be saved and all we have to offer in return is our lives. So this year let us take courage and step out into all that God has for us even if it ends up looking a little different than we first thought!