Matthew 1:18-21 (New International Reader’s Version)
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary and Joseph had promised to get married. But before they started to live together, it became clear that she was going to have a baby. She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph was a godly man. He did not want to put her to shame in public. So he planned to divorce her quietly. But as Joseph was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She is going to have a son. You must give him the name Jesus. That is because he will save his people from their sins.”
Mary’s time of rest and peace with Elizabeth was over. She had returned to her hometown of Nazareth, and was now faced with the misunderstandings and confusion of her family, friends, and fiancé. Joseph, kind and faithful man as he was, decided to privately break his betrothal with Mary. You might think this seems harsh, but remember that the law at that time made it possible for Joseph to have Mary stoned to death for a pregnancy outside of marriage. Letting her go quietly was an incredibly gracious move, one which shows his compassionate nature.
But God wasn’t done with this good man yet! Just as God chose faithful, obedient Mary to be the mother of the Messiah, so God had also chosen Joseph to be his earthly father.
Can you imagine hearing these words from the angel? Joseph’s fears and misgivings were erased, and he knew what he must do.
When have you made a decision to act in one way, then suddenly realized that you needed to act in another?