Sunday, December 22
Written by Christopher Williams
First Congregational Church of Fresno
One cannot help but sympathize with Joseph. There he is on the threshold of marrying the woman of his dreams and then quite suddenly she becomes laden with child. A child that he knows is not his. The world is not kind to an unwedded mother and it was especially dangerous to be so back then. Still Joseph was a standup guy, and had decided to leave Mary quietly rather than publicly disgrace her. She was not his wife yet, the child was not his, and no one would have blamed him. Then an Angel of the Lord appears to him and says to marry Mary anyhow, because the child in question is conceived of the Holy Spirit.
One can bet that this is not what Joseph had envisioned when he had planned out his life. He had wanted to get married and settle down with a nice gal and start a family all by himself but God went and threw a “wrench in the cogs.” Joseph now finds himself a stepfather to the Son of Man. Rather than planning an expeditious escape, the message from the angel soothes Joseph’s anxiety and he does take on the responsibility, never faltering to provide for both Mary and Jesus. Joseph gets to experience the rewards and challenges that many stepparents embrace. This passage isn’t just about being a stepfather, but also about embracing the path that God sets before us. Our lives never go the way that we picture them in our youth, but if we embrace these changes rather than bemoan them then things will go according to a plan. It may not be our plan, but that doesn’t make it the wrong one.