Advent: Doing What God Says is Right, Even When It’s Hard

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20

Joseph hears that Mary is pregnant

After Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel she tells Joseph, whom she is engaged to, all that had happened. He must have been a bit confused about what to do. As was the custom of that day (circa 4 b.c.), he and Mary would have been required to be engaged for one year before getting married (without cohabitating). Should the marriage be called off, they would need a legal divorce to dissolve their engagement. It was during this one year time frame, that Mary became pregnant.

Joseph must have been conflicted in his heart

Joseph was a righteous young man who loved the Lord, and delighted himself in God’s law. Hearing that Mary is pregnant has certainly caught him off guard. Her pregnancy suggests that they have had sexual relations unlawfully, and before the proper appointed time of marriage. Joseph knows he’s not guilty of this sin, so he needs to initiate a legal divorce in order to preserve his own good name. If Mary was to be found guilty of adultry, it may mean she would be stoned to death. It’s understandable that Joseph was having a hard time deciding what to do, as he did not want to shame and embarrass Mary publicly, so he was considering a private divorce.

Joseph is visited by an angel of the Lord

During the night, as Joseph was sleeping, God sent His angel to him in a dream. Listen to what the angel tells him: “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

Joseph accepts Jesus as his Son

When Joseph awoke, he did all that the angel of the Lord had commanded him to do. He took Mary home as his wife, but they did not consummate their marriage until after she had given birth to Jesus. Joseph certainly had a kind and loving heart. It must have been extremely difficult for him to think about the consequences of what could happen to both he and Mary , but his trust was in God. Joseph choose to do what was right, no matter how hard it became. He choose God’s plan over his own, and because of his obedience to God, the Savior of the world was born!

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