On Christmas Eve there were a few movies following the birth of Christ. As we watched them, I couldn’t help thinking about how difficult it must have been for Mary when she became pregnant while she was betrothed to Joseph at a time when a woman was stoned to death for committing adultery. No one seemed to believe her when she told them the truth. I wondered how they could think that someone as devout as Mary would go with another man and disgrace her family, Joseph and herself like that. And what about what she had said about her barren cousin Elizabeth? How could she have known that Elizabeth would have a son?
In each movie, I watched the devastation that came over Joseph when he learned of Mary’s pregnancy and assumed that she had betrayed him. I saw the struggle he went through between doing what was required of the law and his love for her. I watched Mary’s helplessness as she failed to convince them of her innocence. What a terrible time for her having to deal with the reaction of her family and the neighbors to her unexplained pregnancy. It shows that sometimes obedience to God can bring its own difficulties.
However, because of her love, devotion and obedience to God, Mary was soon exonerated–in Joseph’s eyes. An angel spoke to Joseph in a dream, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20, 21).
What a relief this must have been for poor Joseph, a good and just man who did not want to disgrace Mary publicly. He had planned to quietly break off his engagement to her. However, God interceded and everything went according to plan. Jesus was born and Joseph raised Him as his own. Just as it took a special woman to give birth to the Savior, it had to take a special man to raise him.
God never said that obedience is easy or that it doesn’t bring problems. Sometimes it does but we must trust God who always sees the big picture. Joseph obeyed God and did not commit adultery but ended up in jail. Things looked grim for a while but God had great plans for Joseph. Things looked grim for Mary for a while but her situation soon improved.
I am thankful that Mary said yes to God’s plan for her life and I am thankful that Joseph did as the angel told him and took Mary as his wife. Most of all, I am thankful that Jesus was born and is alive and well and watching over us now until the day that He will come to take us home. AMEN.