Our scripture this week is Matthew 1:18-25.
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
In the four Gospels, only two contain a reference to the birth of Jesus. Mark and John begin with Jesus fully grown and beginning His ministry. Luke contains the beautiful birth and visitation story that is so familiar and played out through children’s programs and nativity scenes. Matthew contains only a sentence (verse 25) “…and she gave birth to a son. And he gave Him the name Jesus”, not a lot of detail regarding the circumstances.
However Matthew’s story is important to us because it tells us of an ordinary person – Joseph – saying yes to Jesus. We need to be aware of how essential this acceptance was to the birth and life of Jesus. Even in His wonderful plan to bring salvation to us, God took a chance on human free will. What if Mary or Joseph had said no?
In this week’s scripture we will learn of the dilemma Joseph faced in his time and culture. Being engaged to an unwed mother was no small thing in that society, but God had called Joseph to an incredible task – to be the earthly father and early role model for Jesus. Joseph’s decision is one we all have to make, to say yes to the presence of Jesus in our lives and accept the change that makes in our lives forever.
Loving Lord, we are grateful and humbled by Your gift of salvation through Jesus. Help us to see the part we are called to play in sharing the Good News with everyone. Amen.