18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.”
24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. (NRSV)
By: Karen Kraeger
Matthew tells us a very different version of the Messiah’s Birth, without the flowery language and details of the other Gospels. This story is straightforward, its simplicity underscoring its significance. From the start, Joseph shows himself to be a just and trustworthy man. After learning that Mary, his betrothed, is expecting a baby that is not his, Joseph plans to follow his heart and not the law. The Angel of the Lord intervenes, trusting that Joseph will take Mary as his wife instead of quietly divorcing her as he had planned. Joseph honors this trust by caring for Mary and the baby Jesus.
The Lord trusted Joseph, and Joseph trusted the Lord. It seems easy because it all worked out in the end. God trusts us to do the right thing, too, but often it isn’t as easy to trust Him. When it feels like God is leading us in a new or challenging direction, it may be hard to trust Him.
May the Christmas season be a chance for us to see God’s trust in action!
By: Katja Michael
Trust in Faith. That’s what speaks to me in this passage. The situation that Joseph was in with Mary was scandal at its finest. I put myself in Joseph’s shoes, listening to Mary telling him that “yeah, so the Holy Spirit came to me and now I’m carrying the Son of God”. Yeah, right... and the dog ate your homework. Given the era, Joseph could easily have just dumped Mary and let the community take care of her. She would quite possibly have been stoned to death. Instead, he had already decided to “let her go quietly” and that he would just move on with his life. Then he got the visit from an angel of God, who gave him a message that changed his mind. In hindsight, I’m thankful Joseph wasn’t the stubborn type because had things gone otherwise…well, I’ll just stay thankful.
It’s not always easy to have faith in God’s plans for us. We got no instruction manual as a “how to.” Moving from California to Georgia was not exactly on my radar twenty-some years ago. After a lot of prayer, I followed my gut feeling and moved into the unknown. I am convinced that the gut feeling I had must have been similar in some way to the feeling that Joseph had after the visit from the angel. It was a situation where he knew little about the outcome, but that God through his angel told him was his destiny. Saint Joseph, to me at least, will be the picture of Trust in Faith.