“Faith over Fear”, People of the Christmas Story: Joseph

Welcome back to today’s Time in the Word. We continue in our scripture study, which comes from Matthew 1:18-25. If you are reading this digitally, you can simply click on the highlighted text. Otherwise, I invite you to grab your bible and turn to Matthew 1:18-25.

We’re almost done with our discovery of how the people of the Christmas Story: Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, and Joseph- chose “Faith over Fear”. Would you trust God to lead you through a cultural and religious challenge?

The last character to round out our Christmas story is Joseph. For most of biblical history, Joseph remains pretty quiet. Here are a few facts about Joseph:

  • Joseph, like Mary, was thought to be between 12-16 years old
  • Faithful to the law
  • Considered “quietly divorcing” Mary when he found out she was pregnant

Joseph, you’re never going to believe this

Can you even imagine the conversation that took place with Mary and Joseph? Just given the time and cultural expectations, I’m sure the pressure was on from all sides. Scripture doesn’t give us a timeline on how many days between Joseph finding out about Mary’s pregnancy and deciding to divorce her followed by a dream. I’m curious to know if their parents got involved. Imagine that conversation! I’m sure it was heated!

We can be confident that Joseph did contemplate “divorcing her quietly, not wanting to disgrace her.” That decision was certainly a mark of a kind man. It probably was very hurtful to hear news of a baby, knowing it was not yours, and then to go back to the marriage home you were working on and realize it was all over. Talk about ripping your heart out.

Dream a little dream

But God’s plans for humanity were not going to be held up by human emotions and religious ideals. God sent an “angel of the Lord” to Joseph in a dream. I am curious as to why Joseph only got a visitation in a dream? But for whatever reason, this dream gave God Joseph’s undivided attention.

The angel of the Lord explained that the baby Mary was carrying was of the Holy Spirit and that Joseph should not be afraid to marry Mary. The angel told him that the baby is a boy, they will call him Jesus, and that Jesus will take away the sins of the world. Since Joseph was a good Jew, he knew the prophecy of the coming Messiah. Not skipping a beat, Joseph immediately married Mary.

I’m sure that Joseph was overwhelmed with a prophecy being fulfilled through him and his family. Many generations had awaited the Messiah and it was coming true. Joseph and Mary together walked through this amazing time holding to their faith despite any possible fears they may have felt.

Same but different

As we walk out our faith journey, we all need to remember that our paths will look different. Our struggles will vary. But we all are being refined by God, through his good will and purpose of eternal perfection. I think it is normal to be fearful but to NOT let that fear stop us.

Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary all had opportunities to fear at different places of the Christmas story and beyond, but they held on to their faith and went forward and trusted God to do his will through them. It’s also very intersting to watch their faith grow. Forming more and more trust in God’s will through their experiences. Can you see your story through the fear and holding on to faith? Do you see it growing?

Wishing you all a Happy New Year of good health and increased faith. Till next time. Thank you for joining me here in Time in the Word.

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