A carpenter by trade, he was engaged to Mary when it was discovered his fiancée was pregnant. He knew he wasn’t the daddy! It might seem old fashioned to many people nowadays but he had been following God’s guidelines and ‘waiting’ until they were married.
This discovery must have been painful, disappointing, confusing. The writer Matthew describes Joseph as an ‘upright’ man. In Donegal we might call him ‘a right fella’ or ‘a good lad’. Wounded as he was, he had no wish to hurt back, no spiteful desire for scandal or revenge. He was thinking of breaking off their engagement with as little fuss as possible. A decent man.
Then the angel came with the message.
Don’t worry Joseph. Mary hasn’t been unfaithful to you. God is doing something wonderful, something amazing for the whole world and He wants Mary, and you, to be part of it. Go ahead and marry Mary. Take good care of her. And the baby she is carrying. It’s a boy. Call him ‘Jesus’ (from the Hebrew word meaning ‘Rescuer’) for He will save people from their sins!
Oh wow! To bear and rear the Saviour Son of God – who would be fit for such a responsibility? I wonder, were they ever tempted to say no, please find someone else? If this happened in our self-centred times might they have been inclined to complain? Well this infringes our human rights. Our wedding plans are ruined, not to mention our reputations. We weren’t given a choice. Let’s go for a termination.
That would have been unfortunate.
But this amazing young couple accepted God’s will even though it brought them great personal challenge and sacrifice. And 2000 years later their example could inspire us still.
Will we live for something more than the X-box under the tree, the turkey on the table, a life of trying (and often failing) to just please ourselves? Will we seek to find our place in His great plan for the world? Will we live to please and serve our Maker Who sent His Son to ‘save us from our sins’?
Prayerful best wishes for the Christmas Season and the New Year!