WHEN JOSEPH HAD CHRISTMAS DREAMS.
(He wasn't dreaming of a white Christmas)

Matt 1:18-21
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.   19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.
20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." (NAS)

Introduction:
Irvin Berlin wrote a beautiful song titled "I'm Dreaming f a White Christmas.   It is I believe the most popular song related to Christmas music sales.    Today I want to emphasize the dreams of Joseph and remind you he was not dreaming of a white Christmas.

God uses dreams to help us in our spiritual life.    Many time we can go to sleep praying and dream a dream related to a spiritual matter.   The scriptures have many examples of God speaking to His children through a dream.   If you think God has spoken to you through a dream you need to make sure it correesponds to the scripture.   Some time we have noght mares and not spiritual dreams.   There is a poem about dreams I like and I will share it now.

DREAM BIG A Living Faith
I've dreamed many dreams that never came true,
I've seen them vanish at dawn,
But I've realized enough of my dreams, thank God,
To make me want to dream on.
I've prayed many prayers when no answer came
Though I waited patient and long,
But answers have come to enough of my prayers
To make me keep praying on.
I've trusted many a friend that failed,
And left me to weep alone,
But I've found enough of my friends true blue,
To make me keep trusting on.
I've sown many seed that fell by the way,
For the birds to feed upon,
But I've had enough golden sheaves in my hands
To make me keep sowing on.
I've drained the cup of disappointment and pain
And gone many days without song,
But I've sipped enough nectar from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.

Where did Joseph's dream come from? From the Lord, but allow me to think back to this night and see the mind set of Joseph. I think there was a progression in his dream process. I imagine the following was involved in his dream.

His Dream Came from A . . Saddened Heart

His Dream Came from A . . Suspicious Heart.

His Dream Came from A . . Sensitive Heart.
 
 

1.    His Dream Came from A . . Saddened Heart.   Matt 1:18-21 


His #1 . . Desire for Mary Saddened Him. v 18

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

    1.    Joseph looked forward to establishing a home with Mary.
    2.    Joseph and Mary were both Devout Jews.
    3.    Joseph had all the normals dreams for Mary and himself.

Illustration
Can you remember a time when a relationship with a boy friend or girl friend ended? It hurts, and some times it hurts real bad.

On one occasion I dated a girl and I was beginning to think I was serious with her. One night after Wednesday Prayer Meeting we went to Steak and Shake. After our refreshments she need to stop at another store. I stayed in the car and began thumbing through her Bible.

I came to the section for family history, and noticed my girl friend had been married. My heart fell to the floor board. I was greatly crushed. That feeling only begins to express the feeling Joseph must have had.
 

His #2 . . Desire for Mary Saddened Him. v 19

19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly.

    1.    Joseph sought a way to put Mary away Privately.
    2.    Joseph did not want disgrace for anyone,  Including himself.
 

Illustration
Helen Good Brenneman, well-known devotional writer, speaks of the need of kindness: "There was once a man who had a heart transplant but the operation was a total failure. For the man was a mean man and the heart was a kind heart. His body simply rejected it. The Bible tells us, however, of a heart transplant that was successful. 'And I will give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take out the stony heart. I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. And they shall be my people and I will be their God.'" (Ezek 11:19-20)

Application

Some people are sad at Christmas time. Look at verses 20-21
 

Joseph had a #3 Desire for Mary that caused him to rejoice.

Matt 1:20-21
20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." (NAS)

DREAM BIG A Living Faith

I've dreamed many dreams that never came true,
I've seen them vanish at dawn,
But I've realized enough of my dreams, thank God,
To make me want to dream on.
 
 

2.    His Dream Came from A . . Suspicious Heart. Matt 2:11-13 (NAS) 


A.    I Think He was Suspicious of . . The Wise Men. v 11-12
11 And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned {by God} in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.

    1.    An Immediate Suspicion.
            a.    Did he immediately understand the wise Men?
            b.    Who were they and what did these gifts mean?
            c.    What do they want in return for these gifts?

B.    I Think He was Suspicious of . . The Wild Man. v 13
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him."

    1.    Herod the Great was a wild man.
            a.    He ordered the death of little children.
            b.    He ordered the death of the some notable Jews when he died so that somebody would
                    mourn.

Illustration
In the early days of our country a weary traveler came to the banks of the Mississippi River for the first time. There was no bridge. It was early winter, and the surface of the mighty stream was covered with ice. Could he dare cross over? Would the uncertain ice be able to bear his weight?

Night was falling, and it was urgent that he reach the other side. Finally, after much hesitation and with many fears, he began to creep cautiously across the surface of the ice on his hands and knees. He thought that he might distribute his weight as much as possible and keep the ice from breaking beneath him.

About halfway over he heard the sound of singing behind him. Out of the dusk there came a man, driving a horse-drawn load of coal across the ice and singing merrily as he went his way.

Here he was--on his hands and knees, trembling lest the ice be not strong enough to bear him up! And there, as if whisked away by the winter's wind, went the man, his horses, his sleigh, and his load of coal, upheld by the same ice on which he was creeping!
 

Application

Some people are suspicious at Christmas time. Notice the action of Joseph. When Joseph followed the message of his dream his suspicions vanished. God guided him through this dream.

DREAM BIG A Living Faith

I've dreamed many dreams that never came true,
I've seen them vanish at dawn,
But I've realized enough of my dreams, thank God,
To make me want to dream on.
 
 

3.    His Dream Came from A . . Sensitive Heart.    Matt 2:19-23 


A.    Sensitive to the . . Prompting of the Lord. v 19-21

19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 20 "Arise and take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead." 21 And he arose and took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

    1.    The . . Time of the Dream. v 19
            a.    Another Indication the Lord know everything.
            b.    The . . testimony of the Dream. v 20
            c.    Go to Israel.
            d.    A better place than Egypt?
                    1)    No just God's choice.

    2.    The . . Transacting of the Dream. v 21
 

Illustration
A tourist driving through West Texas stopped at a gas station and observed a piece of rope dangling from a sign labeled "Weather Forecaster." "How can you possibly tell the weather with a piece of rope?" the tourist wanted to know. "It's simple, sonny," was the droll answer. "When the rope swings back and forth, it's windy, when it gets wet, it's raining, when it's frozen stiff, it's snowing, and when it's gone... tornado!"
 

B.    Sensitive to the . . Plan of the Lord. v 22-23

22 But when he heard that Archelaus (ahr kih LAY uhs) was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned {by God} in a dream, he departed for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene." (NAS)
 

C.    Sensitive to A . . Forbidding Plan.. v 22

    1.    The Fear of Joseph . . A Good Fear.
    2.    The Fear of Joseph . . A Goodly Fear.
            a.    Confirmed in the Dream.

D.    Sensitive to A . . Fulfilling Plan. v 23

    1.    How important is a small detail of Scripture?
    2.    Not a jot or a tittle .Matt 5:18

18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. (NAS)

Illustration
"It is a gloomy moment in the history of our country. Not in the lifetime of most men has there been so much grave and deep apprehension; never has the future seemed so incalculable as at this time. The domestic economic situation is in chaos. Our dollar is weak throughout the world. Prices are so high as to be utterly impossible. The political cauldron seethes and bubbles with uncertainty. It is a solemn moment of our troubles. No man can see the end."

I suppose some might agree that his is a true picture of today. However, that was first published in Harper's Weekly in October 1857. It's a wonder the country has survived all this bad news!
 

Application

We all need to be sensitive to dreams in the way Joseph was,

Joseph received direction from the Lord. His guidance game through these Christmas Dreams.

DREAM BIG A Living Faith

I've dreamed many dreams that never came true,
I've seen them vanish at dawn,
But I've realized enough of my dreams, thank God,
To make me want to dream on.

Today God may guide us by His Spirit, His Word, and He can even use a dream. We will note these dreams fulfilled scripture.

His Dream Came from A . . Saddened Heart
His Dream Came from A . . Suspicious Heart.
His Dream Came from A . . Sensitive Heart.