Matt. 1:18-24 Now this is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph, her finance’, being a just man, decided to break the engagement quietly, so as not to disgrace her publicly. As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him, Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Just like Mary, his fiance’, Joseph’s heart was troubled. First of all, he too was visited by an angel, but his was in a dream. Some speculate that it was Gabriel who visited him as well, but the Scriptures do not tell us that it was him. For much the same reason as Mary, Joseph did not expect to be visited by an angel since no one had had any visible connect with God in Israel for the past 400 years.
Joseph was troubled as well by the news that Mary was now pregnant. As a young, righteous man, this indeed would have been troubling news. Everything he thought he knew about Mary was now up in the air. “How could she have done this to him? Who was she with? Why did she do it? Or, was it rape? Was it a one-night stand?”
He knew the Law. Mary deserved to be stoned to death. But…., he loved her! What could he do to protect her? Could he put her away quietly? Mary was a godly woman. “Why, Mary?” With a broken heart he had to have pondered these things. Disappointed, disillusioned, discouraged, defeated, who could blame Him?
But Gabriel quieted Joseph’s heart. “Joseph, things aren’t as they appear to be. Yes, Mary is pregnant, but this is of God and not man. Mary is going to have a child, not just any child, He is the Messiah, the one you and the nation of Israel have been looking for for so many years. His name will be Jesus, for He will save the world from its sins. Joseph, all that is happening now with Mary is the fulfillment of the Scriptures. He is Immanuel, God with us.” Joseph listened to this message from God and took it to heart. He did not send Mary away. He did not ask her all kind of questions. He simply did any righteous person would do; he yielded to God’s will and took Mary as his wife.
We can learn much from Joseph and Mary and how they prepared their hearts for the birth of Jesus. As we each celebrate Christ’s birth in our own unique ways, let us take the time to prepare our hearts for this very special celebration. Jesus is the reason we have the season. He is God with us, our Immanuel. He is our only source of lasting love, joy, peace and hope. O come, let us worship Him, Christ the Lord.