Read Matthew 2:11-13
11-12 So they went into the house and saw the little child with his mother Mary. And they fell on their knees and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts—gold, incense and myrrh. Then, since they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by a different route.
13 But after they had gone, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up now, take the little child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you. For Herod means to seek out the child and kill him.” (JBP)
If someone tells us that God has told them to do something as a result of a dream we may be sceptical. How do we know God was involved? Did that dream have any significance? Isn’t it all a bit ‘hit and miss’?
All good questions. It is dangerous to analyse dreams so that we end up assuming God is directing us. We are prone to misinterpretation and liable to enlist God’s name so as to get him to approve what we intend to do anyway.
But we are left with a nagging problem: the Bible does speak of God guiding through dreams. In this Christmas story, both the magi and Joseph were guided by a dream. And even before Jesus’ birth, God spoke to Joseph via a dream. It is dangerous to deny that God can use dreams and even be the author of them.
We cannot dismiss them as of no consequence, nor can we jump to quick conclusions. Perhaps the best thing to do with our dreams, assuming they stay with us in our waking hours, is to prayerfully reflect on them. Even share them with trusted others. There may be something in them, there may be nothing much in them.
But God may choose sometimes to reveal himself to us while our minds are not actively distracted or overly analytical. We might switch off, but he does not. We sleep, he does not.