Did you know that you dream every night? Experts say that everyone dreams, even if you don't remember it. Some dreams are very vivid; others are just weird. But sometimes God uses dreams to communicate to people, as He did to one troubled man who had just found out his girlfriend was pregnant.
It's a familiar story to you; just read Matthew 1:18-25. It's the story of Christmas through the eyes of Joseph.
And his story begins with confusion: Joseph was just plain confused at the news that Mary, the girl he loved and was betrothed to marry, was pregnant. It broke his heart. But because he was a just man, he opted to divorce her privately (see vv. 18-19).
That's when he was put under anesthesia, so to speak, by a divine surgeon, who brought clarity to his confusion by way of a personal pep talk by an angel in a dream (see vv. 20-21).
This angel exhorted Joseph not to be afraid, then explained what exactly was going on with Mary: "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (v. 20). This was followed by instruction and further clarification--basically, "She's going to have the baby, you're going to name the baby Jesus, and the baby's going to save the world, like the prophet Isaiah predicted" (see vv. 21-23).
And how did Joseph respond? He went from clarity to compliance: He woke up, and he obeyed (see vv. 24-25). He married Mary but didn't have any physical relations with her until after Jesus was born. He didn't want it even rumored that he had anything to do with the birth of this baby. And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus.
Now, for Joseph, the easiest part of this whole thing was the dream. When he woke up, he had to deal with the reality: transporting a pregnant girl to Bethlehem for a census; fleeing with his new family to Egypt; moving back to Nazareth, where no doubt tongues wagged and gossip flew. But still Joseph obeyed.
And even though reality was the hardest part, it was also the best part, because this baby who was born would eventually grow up and die on a cross for our sins, crushing the power of sin and hell once and for all. That was God's plan from the beginning: "You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (v. 21).
When Joseph physically woke up from his dream, you might say he also woke up spiritually. I pray that if you haven't already, you would wake up from your spiritual slumber this Christmas to the reality of life itself: that Jesus is alive and loves you, that He has a plan for you, and that He came to save you from your sins.