“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 ESV
Joseph was in a pickle. The young woman he is engaged to, a virgin, has just told him she's pregnant with God's baby. Believing that your fiancee is in the family way is one thing, but Mary's story of her divine encounter must have seemed almost incredulous. Yet, he would have heard the prophecy in Isaiah of the coming Immanuel. What should he do? He was a good man, and he did not want harm or shame Mary. Just as he had decided to break their engagement quietly, the angel appears backing up Mary's story. She is carrying the long-awaited Son of God, and his name is to be Jesus. Can you imagine the relief and peace Joseph must have felt?
Still, it must have taken much courage for both of them. Can you imagine the wagging tongues of those who doubted? "Sure, you're going to be the parents of Immanuel. A teenage girl and her husband, the carpenter. Not exactly royalty, are you?" We can reason friends and family may have distanced themselves from the couple. Perhaps, Joseph even lost some business.
In Mary and Joseph, we see their full trust and obedience to God. Acceptance in the face of what they knew would be a difficult circumstance. "Yes, God, I will be your vessel for our Immanuel. Yes, God, I will be a husband to Mary and father to Jesus."
God, we give thanks for the willing obedience found in Mary and Joseph. Please help us be more like them in accepting your will even when what you ask may be uncomfortable. We give thanks for your Son sent to save us from our sins. Let us this Christmas remember and rejoice in the birth of the greatest gift to your people. In Jesus’, name we pray. Amen.