December 29, 2019: A Beautiful and Terrifying Dream

First Sunday after Christmas

Matthew provides three stories today. They are tools for using the storyline of the Gospel as a lens for putting yourself into the story. And for inviting the Holy Spirit into the story you are living.

Have you ever wrestled with a dream like Joseph?

I married my high school sweetheart. We dated five years and were married just before I began seminary. I had a reoccurring dream. It was both beautiful and terrifying. In the dream my wife gave birth to a son. But in the dream, she died. The birth of our first child turned out to be a handsome boy we named Nathaniel (“gift of God”). The terrifying part of the dream never happened.

During Clinical Pastoral Education, I served as a chaplain in a hospital setting. The first death I experienced was that of a baby. The mother remained in the hospital several days. On a follow-up visit she challenged me. It was clear I was angry with God for her loss, and that my hurt and pain seemed bigger than her own.

She asked if I was married and if we had children. It would be another year before our first son was born. I shared my scary reoccurring dream. “Your God is too small,” she said. She went on to explain that my expectations for what God should do (or not do) was in the way. “If you want to be a good parent, you must let God be free to be fully God for you.”

Amazing advice that has blessed me for 29 years! Like Joseph I had a dream. To fully realize it, I needed others to help me interpret it. Listen today to these powerful stories for what God is seeking to show you.


Neil Routh has been a pastor in the Southern Province since 1990. He presently serves as pastor of Grace Moravian Church in Mount Airy, NC