18 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. 19 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. 20 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. 21 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.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
In the first part of this passage it says that when Joseph discovered that his fiancée, Mary, was pregnant, ‘he had in mind to divorce her quietly’. Joseph did not immediately react to the situation, he did not take her into the streets and stone her to death, as the law allowed him to do. He ‘had in mind’ or thought about it and had a plan.
Amazingly, in developing a plan he considered what was best for Mary and not just himself. It says he was ‘faithful to the law’ but ‘did not want to expose her to public disgrace’. At this point Joseph must have believed that his fiancée had betrayed him and slept with another man, and yet, he is concerned about the impact of his actions on her. What a selfless and loving act.
It goes on in the next verse to say, ‘But after he had considered this,’ reinforcing this idea of him taking time and thinking through his actions. It was in this time of considering that God spoke to him and told him the child was the Son of God.
When unexpected or painful or even exciting things happen in my life, do I pause to consider the events, or launch into action? Do I allow God time to speak into the middle of my circumstances, or do I react on impulse?
God, please help me to consider the unfolding events in my life and the world around me. Help me to be open to your input, rather than rushing and taking action by myself. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh