I have always had a fertile imagination! One of my earliest recollections dates back to the late 1950’s when a neighborhood friend and I were playing parts in an elaborate story that I had made up (although, I’m not sure how elaborate a story a six or seven year old kid can come up with…) and we were hiding on my parents porch while the bad guys searched for us! Then there were the summers when we would build forts and play army with the bales of hay that were cut, put together and temporarily left in the field next to that neighborhood which would later serve as overflow parking at the Veterans Building for the County Fair right across the street. (That field was paved over years ago!)
I’ve always loved reading, and just like my wife did with our kids, I have fond memories of my Mom taking me to the Library during the summer for good summertime reads! It is a little sad that both of those old-time architecture library buildings that we frequented are now gone, but the books are still available in the newer more modern branches that replaced them. I am positive that the variety of titles that Mom forced me to read (which I usually ended up really enjoying) helped to further the creative gene in me!
But of all the stories that I liked to make up, my favorites centered around my extensive Match Box car collection that was the pride and joy of my childhood. One favorite Christmas memory was the time (early ‘60’s) that my older brother and I spent in the living room of our new home near the decorated Christmas tree, playing out a story that just happened to include a job from Santa! It was always special when my brother would take the time to play with his kid brother! He also had/has a great imagination and at times we flowed together with great simpatico!
I don’t really remember too much of the story line, but at one point Santa asked me to do something for him. So I (in my mind’s eye as part of the story) jumped into my white with blue racing stripes 1965 Match Box Mustang… or was it my Aurora HO Scale Slot Car? (Oh well, it doesn’t really matter as I had mixed the slot cars and Match Box cars together on the couch that served as the North Pole!) and took off to complete my responsibility! I do remember thinking that it was a big deal that Santa had asked ME to do a specific job for him!
Now without getting into a dialogue about the pros and cons of believing in Santa and how to rationalize him in our Christian faith… (let’s just say that we didn’t teach our kids to believe in Santa, but we did enjoy reading the Christmas stories or watching the movies!), I thought of that walk down memory lane when reading about Joseph’s dream with the angel of the Lord before he and Mary got married.
While he was trying to figure out the right and noble thing to do after finding out that his fiancée was found to be with a child that was not his, he had a dream where Papa God told him exactly what was going on and what Joseph was to do about it! What stood out to me was that God told him that He had a specific job for him to do that was a major part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world. In Matthew 1:21 the angel said: “She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, YOU, JOSEPH, will name him Jesus – God Saves – because he will save his people from their sins!” (The Message Bible)
I can just imagine the roller-coaster effect this had on Joseph’s emotional well-being. After receiving the shock of Mary’s predicament and considering all the persecution the two of them could have received, I would think that his heart soared when he learned that they were both part of God’s over-all plan for the world and that God trusted and respected him enough to give him the job of naming the incarnate Son of God while protecting Mary and the baby throughout the entire ordeal that they were about to embark on!
I can kind of relate to his feelings as I have felt some similar responsibilities in caring for and protecting my wife during this health battle that she is dealing with. Every-so-often the idea that Papa God has trusted me and must figure that I have what it takes to fulfill this all important responsibility takes my breath away and I can’t help but stop and worship Him for His goodness, trust in me and His over-all wisdom and care for us.
How about you? Did you know that Papa God has special, all important and particular jobs just for you to fulfill on this earth? He not only loves you without reserve, but knows you better than you know yourself and trusts that you can and will do whatever He asks of you. Do you have that kind of trust in yourself… no matter what others may say about you or the job He tells you to do!
I can just see Joseph swallowing hard when he realized what the angel was telling him! The fun part of this story to me is found a few verses down in Matthew 1:24 where it reports on Joseph’s response: “Then Joseph woke up (and without any question) he did EXACTLY what God’s angel commanded him in the dream…” (The Message Bible)
What do you think about that? Mull that over and then figure out what your response and what your expectations will be when Papa God says to you: “You (insert your name here) have a job to do!”