There’s so much joy and merriment at Christmastime. After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

And yet, for many of us, Christmastime also carries a deep underlying ache. Empty chairs. Broken hearts. Dashed hopes. Because despite what the fairy tales told us, not all our dreams came true, and “happily ever after’s” seem cheaply foreign to the stories we live in.


And amidst all the romantic idealism of Christmas cheer, we just can’t shake the reality of life’s shattered dreams, can we?


It’s helpful to remember that the very first Christmas wasn’t brimming with romantic idealism and cheery sentimentality. In fact, it all begins with shattered dreams.


Mary and Joseph had dreams of how their lives would go. Everything was going according to plan. All their dreams were coming true, until that very first Christmas, when their lives were upended, their plans were canceled, and their dreams were shattered.


What do you do when your dreams are shattered? When your past feels devastating? Your present feels confusing? And your future feels bewildering?


In this passage, we get a front-row seat to watch Joseph navigate this moment when all his dreams were shattered at Christmas. We can learn what to do when our dreams are shattered from watching Joseph do three things:


  1. Hope in God’s Redemption: God’s redemption comes through messes. He starts with an irretrievable mess and brings redemptive hope. And so, the takeaway for Joseph—and us—is to give God our mess. When your dreams are shattered, hope in God’s redemption.
  2. Trust in God’s Wisdom: God’s guidance comes through His Word. It’s easy to lose your bearings and get caught up in emotion and anxiety when your dreams are shattered. And in these moments, the takeaway for Joseph—and us— is to give God your trust. When your dreams are shattered, trust in God’s wisdom.
  3. Rest in God’s Provision: God’s peace comes through surrender. When we let go of our anxiety and surrender to God, that is always the way to peace. So, the takeaway for Joseph—and us—is to give God your unknowns.


If you will let go of the outcomes you can’t control, if you will give God your future that seems so bewildering, God will give you a peace that surpasses all understanding. God promises even now that He is working all things together for your eternal good and His everlasting glory!


Matthew 1:18-25


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