It was a personal crisis he could never have imagined. Joseph is taken completely by surprise when he learns that Mary, his future wife, is pregnant. Joseph knew he was not the father. Mary had told him of the angel who told her the news. But Joseph still couldn’t believe what she was telling him.
The pain of betrayal and humiliation ran deep. Joseph knew the consequences of marital infidelity were severe under the Law, with the most severe being execution. It was his right to exact those consequences, especially if he wanted to clear his own name. But Joseph, choosing to avoid public shame, chose to quietly divorce Mary instead.
In the crisis, God shows up
In the midst of the confusion and pain, God is present. When Joseph’s marriage plans are crashing and burning, God says, “I am here.” As Joseph sleeps, God dispatches an angel with a message. The angel greets Joseph not by his vocation, a carpenter. Not by his location, a Galilean. He is greeted by his royal lineage-a son of David. God knows who Joseph is and what role he will have in God’s divine plan.
The angel instructs Joseph to embrace his role as Mary’s husband, for she has not been unfaithful. She has indeed conceived this divine child by the power of the Holy Spirit. This child who will be called Jesus, the Savior of the world.
In the confusion, Joseph obeys God
Joseph’s response to the angel’s instruction is immediate. He abandons his plan to divorce Mary and instead takes her to be his wife. When this divine child is born, Joseph names him Jesus, assuming full legal responsibility for him. In doing so, Joseph bore the reproach that had fallen on Mary by those who believed her to be unfaithful. Joseph yielded his personal plans, his reputation and his rights in his decision to obey God.
Where do you find yourself this Christmas season? Like Joseph, are you in the middle of a crisis that has left you confused and heartbroken? If so, God knows and cares. He wants to help you.
Look for God – He is there for you.
Are you, like Joseph, in the middle of confusion, unsure of what to do next? Have your plans fallen apart and you have nowhere to turn? God has a plan and He wants you to know His plan.
Listen to God-He will direct you.
When God’s plan and your plan don’t align, trust that God’s plan is best.