(We are continuing our look at the Christmas story. If you missed last week, you can find part one here.)
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and 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 be with child and will 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 had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Joseph was a righteous man. If he had not been, he could have publicly humiliated and stoned Mary for being found to be pregnant before their marriage. God’s law was important to him.
Joseph was a good man. Although not mentioned many times in the pages of Scripture, Joseph took on the task of raising and caring for God’s Son. What an awesome responsibility! How often do you imagine that Joseph felt the weight of the universe on his shoulders?
Joseph was an obedient man. He obeyed God’s message, he took Mary to be his wife, and Jesus to be his son. He called the baby “Jesus,” which means “Yahweh saves.”
Many songs and books have been written about Mary’s sacrifice, but Joseph cannot be left out of the Christmas story. He was the head of the family that included God’s Son. Joseph shepherded his family through good times and bad, to Egypt and back again.
Obedience to the call of God is a recurring theme throughout the Christmas story. Today, God calls you and me to obey Him. May our obedience to Him this Christmas season be evident to the world around us, giving us the opportunity to share God’s marvelous gift with a lost world.