Tuesday, December 18, Third Week in Advent
Dreams play an important part in Matthews account of the birth of Jesus. There are five of them four to Joseph and one to the Magi. In Josephs first dream, the angel gives him some astounding news. His wife, Mary, has conceived a child by the power of God!
Dreams played an important part in the life of another Joseph centuries earlier. When he told his brothers about his dreams, they became jealous. Eventually they sold him to a caravan headed for Egypt. Joseph ended up as a servant of the Pharaoh. Later he won great favor by interpreting the Pharaohs dreams.
The story of these two Josephs is the story of God working through human beings. God still does that, and I am one of the human beings through whom God accomplishes his plans.
As routine and plain as my life may seem, God acts through me to accomplish great things. They may seem small, but in the eons of Gods plan, theyre like the mustard seed which when full-grown is the largest of plants and puts forth large branches.
How did God work through me yesterday?
Wednesday, December 19, Third Week in Advent
Zechariah was one of approximately 18,000 Jewish priests in Palestine at the time of Jesus.
They were divided into 24 groups of 750 each. Twice a year each group came to the Temple in Jerusalem to serve for a week. Their roles during the week of service were chosen by lot. Some of them, in a given week, werent chosen to do anything.
Each morning, four lots were cast to decide who would carry out the four tasks of the altar. Then in the afternoon, a fifth lot was cast to determine who would enter the Holy Place to offer the evening incense. This extraordinary privilege usually came only once in a lifetime.
In Lukes account, when the afternoon lot was cast, Zechariah was chosen to enter the Holy Place and offer the evening incense. It was there that the angel appeared to him to announce the birth of John.