Undoubtedly, Mary’s pregnancy was not easy on the fledgling relationship between her and Joseph. The social consequences for Mary would have been shame and ostracism; was he worried she was trying to save herself from disgrace? Joseph must have spent many a tormented hour wondering what to do. But in the end, he trusted both her and the Lord and went ahead and married her. Did he really know what he was getting himself into? Do any of us ever know?
Christ does not come to save us from uncertainty or from the pain of love and loss. But he does come to be God-with-us—Emmanuel. God knows our deep human need to not be left alone. Hence, God sent an angel to Joseph so he would not have to endure such a risk alone. God did not abandon Joseph to an awkward and potentially shameful life decision. God gave him a sign. Jesus Christ is God’s most trustworthy and reliable sign to us that God will never abandon us in the uncertainty and riskiness of life.
Thank you again, God, for Joseph and for raising him up as a man who took a tremendous risk to trust. Only you could send the right messages to help us make gracious decisions. Amen.
Writers: Michael Binder ’17, Affiliate Faculty in Congregational Mission and Leadership; Amy Marga, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology. Theological Editor: James L. Boyce ’71, Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Greek. Cover photo by Elizabeth Explores on Unsplash.