It was getting closer to the day he would marry the young woman. Things were better than ever, until everything changed. It was in an instant when his life took an unexpected turn.
His fiancé was pregnant; and he wasn’t the father.
He loved her too much to make a scene. Separating from her quietly was the best option. Nevertheless, he was heartbroken. Why would Mary, a godly woman, betray him?
Then it happened. Joseph had a dream; a vision. In it, an angel of God told him not to fear. Mary would have a son, but she hadn’t been unfaithful. Her pregnancy was a miracle from the Holy Spirit.
Joseph would not only accept the role of a husband, but also the role of a father; the father of the long-awaited Messiah.
Christmas is in a few days and many are dwelling on the story of Jesus’ birth. We see signs reading “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “Keep Christ in Christmas”.
While Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 (or even in December, for that matter), this is a time of year when people are a little more open to receiving the message of Christ. Because of that, I see Christmas time as an opportunity to share amazing life-lessons I’ve learned from Jesus’ birth story.
An Unplanned Pregnancy
As a young woman myself, I tend to look at this story through the eyes of Mary. A girl, hardly old enough to be considered a grown woman, gets pregnant through a miracle of the Holy Sprit. I can’t imagine how amazing and how difficult that would be!
I wonder how she told her parents. I wonder how Joseph reacted. I wonder how she felt when people no longer saw her as the ‘good girl’.
As Mary handled ridicule with faith, I wonder how Joseph was taking it.
A Man of Courage
We see, in Matthew 1:19, that Joseph’s first instinct was to end the relationship.
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.”
Even then, he respected Mary and her family. Think about it for a moment. Joseph finds out the woman he’s about to marry got pregnant. Not only that, but she claimed she hadn’t been unfaithful. Crazy, right?
He could’ve had Mary stoned as punishment, but the verse above states that Joseph was a just man. He decided he would separate from her secretly.
Later, we find that an angel explains everything to him, causing Joseph to continue the relationship and accept the most challenging role he’d ever have.
When conflict arises in our lives, we often have the tendency to seek revenge or at least give the person who hurt us a taste of what they put us through.
When conflict arose in Joseph’s life, however, he sought to respect Mary instead of shaming her in front of everyone.
Jospeh certainly didn’t shy away from the issue at hand (remember, he planned to confront Mary and end the relationship), but he redirected his natural instincts and handled it in a God-honoring way.
After the angel expalined the situation (that Mary had stayed faithful and was pregnant through a miracle of the Holy Spirit), Joseph trusted God and took the step of courage needed to provide and care for Mary, the woman carrying the Son of God.
Real Faith Requires Action
Joseph was a man of real faith. I’m sure he was scared and under quite a bit of pressure. Though he was placed in a tough circumstance, he choose to deal with it through trust.
Are you in a complicated situation? Maybe you need to confront someone or you’re not sure how to handle your responsibilities.
Remember, how you handle your circumstances now, will determine how you handle the challenges ahead.
I encourage you to study the story of Jesus’ birth and seek out things you can apply to your own life. Joseph chose faith. What will you choose?