Joseph was fuming! He was pledged to be married to Mary and it now turned out she was pregnant!
Joseph’s head spun as he tried to work out what might of happened but he couldn’t escape the feeling that he had been betrayed by the woman who he had been prepared to spend the rest of his life with.
It took a long, long time but eventually Joseph calmed down and he made a decision about how to proceed.
‘Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly’ (Matthew 1.19)
‘As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was 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”.’ (Matthew 1.20-21)
Joseph had an encounter with God’s presence and his perspective and outlook changed completely. He shifted from breaking their engagement to going through with the wedding and becoming the step father of the son of God!
When we feel angry, confused or upset, what do we do? Do we stew on things, stomp around a bit or lash out? If our response is negative it is understandable because in those moments we are dominated by negative feelings.
Joseph managed to take the time to calm himself down but it was only when he received God’s perspective that things really changed.
When we feel angry, confused or upset are we open to God so that we can receive his perspective and healing? Will we look to our Lord or would we rather just rant?
If our response is negative it is understandable but God wants to meet with us to bring his healing and perspective in order to show us the way forward.
Mary had stayed with Elizabeth for three months and it was probably after this that Joseph heard about the pregnancy but decided to marry Mary after the angel intervened. Unusually in their culture, Mary may well have appeared pregnant on their wedding day, but even if she wasn’t showing then the village gossips would have made sure that everyone knew.
Joseph married Mary even though doing so would have left him looking foolish. Joseph and Mary are inspirational, they were both willing to live with disgrace and rejection in order to obey God.
May we be inspired by Joseph to be more open to God speaking to us no matter how we are feeling.
This is a part of a series of short thoughts for advent to help us to consider the events surrounding the birth of Jesus as we prepare ourselves for Christmas. You can look at the other advent reflections by clicking here.
I am hoping to publish one each day in December leading up to Christmas day, so check back tomorrow as we think a bit more about what the angel said to Joseph.
You can read more about Joseph’s encounter with the angel in Matthew 1 starting at v18.