Art and Storytelling · Uncategorized

Joseph and the Angel: The Big “But” in Christmas

If I see too many “buts” in a story by one of my students I circle them and ask for a rewrite. But I put my pen away when it comes to the “buts” in my life’s story…many times those interruptions or contrary circumstances have changed the course of my life.

I would have bought the other house but for a reluctant seller. I love the one I’m in.
I would have run for re-election but for a nagging voice telling me I’d had enough. Now I’m following a different call.

You fill in your blank: “I would have _________________ but for ________________. Now I’m ________________”

There is a big BUT in the Bible that not only changed the course of a life, but of history. Joseph discovered his betrothed was pregnant. He wanted to “do right” by Mary, so he considered privately divorcing her. His plan was an extraordinary act of kindness, because by rights he could have made Mary into a public spectacle.

The Dream of Saint Joseph by Anton Raphael Mengs. 1773-4
The Dream of Saint Joseph by Anton Raphael Mengs. 1773-4

BUT, and a big “but,” an angel showed up to change his plans. God had another idea. Joseph was sensitive enough to listen, abandon his plans and follow God’s.

How often have you had a “BUT” in your story? Does that “but” represent an act of God in your life? Was God trying to speak to you through a series of “buts?”

I’ve needed every one of the many “buts” in my story. I bet you have too. No rewrites at all. God’s “buts” are the rewrite. Everything after is a revision, a much better revision than I could ever achieve on my own.


Note: This blog idea came from Rev. Nathan Seckinger’s sermon at Greenville Alliance Church on November 30.  Check it out!