Matthew 1:18-23 (CEV)
The Birth of Jesus
18 This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David’s family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God’s Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph was a good manand did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.
20 While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21 Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
22 So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 23 “A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.”
Surely, for Joseph to discover his betrothed is pregnant, there is only one conclusion to draw. And it can’t have been a pleasant experience to have to do so.
The woman you loved, who you thought you were going to make a future with, and yes, have a family with, is now pregnant – and you know it is nothing to do with you. But Joseph, kindly, doesn’t want to humiliate Mary further, to make her already embarrassing situation even worse. So he decides to just quietly call things off, for the wedding just never to happen.
Mary knew she was going to have a baby “by God’s Holy Spirit”, but Joseph didn’t know that.
The BBC broadcast an amazing version of The Nativity a couple of years ago. That showed Joseph having a real dilemma. He loved Mary, but could not come to terms with what he assumed she had done. He gave her a real hard time about it, over a sustained period of time.
Then God comes to him, reassured him that Mary has done nothing wrong, and lets him in on his plan. This is the one who is going to save people – all people. And God needs Joseph to be a part of that.
I can’t begin to imagine what Joseph’s feelings on that were. He knew it was nothing to do with another man. He realised that Mary was blameless in it all. But…
I wonder if Joseph thought it was nothing to do with him? Just something between God and Mary, of which he had no part?
Or perhaps he didn’t feel up to the task of raising God’s son, the responsibility of having him in his life?
But he does. He listens to God’s word and he takes on the task God is calling him to. To support Mary, to welcome God into his home.
Maggi sums up the Christmas story for me (p125)
God became like us, so we could become like him
Joseph was big enough to let God into his life, into his family, into his home – that the same thing may be possible for us.
Thank you Lord
for the bravery of Joseph,
open to hear your call,
even when it seemed
quite outside the “right” thing.
May I be so brave,
that you may come
and live in my heart,
This year, several of us are reading Beginnings and Endings by Maggi Dawn and joining together to comment on it. Do join us at the Adventbookclub Facebook page, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter or comment below. If you are also reading and blogging on this book, let me know and I will link to your blog.