"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." - Matthew 1:20-25
I remember when I found out that Stephanie was pregnant with our first child. Haley was a December baby. Then came Levi; he was a bit of a surprise. And then there was Ethan AND Isaac. Twins! I couldn’t believe it. Earlier this year, I found out that Stephanie was pregnant with our fifth child. We were overwhelmed, surprised, and delighted.
People reacted in different ways. Some made jokes about our apparent religious conversion that resulted in us having so many kids. Others were overjoyed and happy for us. Others a bit confused.
Now that we are only a couple of weeks away from this little guy being born I confess that it was very good for me to re-read the words “do not be afraid” in Matthew 1:20.
It’s not that I can really begin to compare myself with Joseph. After all, this wasn’t an immaculate conception. An angel did not break the news to me in a dream. This pregnancy is not fulfilling any prophecy that I am aware of. At the same time, all fathers do go through something similar. We all have to wait.
Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth differs from Luke’s. Luke tells the story from Mary’s point of view. Here we see things from Joseph’s perspective. In the NIV, v. 20 begins with, “But after he had considered this…” The word for “considered” here could also be translated as “give serious thought.” Joseph was a righteous man who took his role seriously. He quietly and obediently did what was asked of him.
We all have a different perspective on Christmas. What does Jesus’ birth mean for you? However you look at it, I invite you into a time of serious thought and consideration.
Questions for consideration:
Who is Jesus? What does Jesus’ birth mean to me? What is God asking me to do this Advent?