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Joseph: Christmas Series Part 5

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. Matthew 1:18-19

Joseph the carpenter was a righteous man. He had recently asked for Mary’s hand in marriage and they were anticipating their wedding day. However, something terrible became known to him—she, the desire of his heart—was pregnant though he had never touched her. He must have wrestled with this news; outrage, suspicion, horror, and unbearable hurt surely collided within his heart and overwhelmed him. Finally, that godly man made up his mind: not wanting to disgrace her, he developed a plan to send her away secretly.

Joseph was not only a righteous man, but he was a kind man as well. He knew the Law; according to it, Mary must be stoned for committing adultery. However, he could not bear the disgrace and terror of agony that would befall her; therefore, he made a plan to send her away before anyone noticed her swelling belly.

Such was the man whom God chose to raise His Son—he was a man of faith and a man of compassion.

After hearing the heartbreaking news of Mary’s unwed pregnancy, the gears must have been turning in Joseph’s mind as he developed a plan to send her out of town as soon as possible. It likely happened that very night, as he tossed and turned in fretful sleep, that he received the plan for “Operation Mary”—an entirely unexpected, miraculously impossible, nearly unbelievable plan straight from the realm of glory.

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 1:20

The angel of the Lord called him by name and told him not to be afraid. Then the plan unfolded: he was to marry this young woman; the Child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

She would have a boy and Joseph was to name Him Jesus. This baby would not only grow up in Joseph’s home and be raised as his son, but one day this Child would also save God’s people—and Joseph himself—from their sins.

And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus. Matthew 1:24-25

Joseph, the righteous man and Joseph the compassionate man received the plan from God. He took Mary as his wife and kept her a virgin until the birth of her Son. And he named the boy Jesus according to plan.

Mary was the instrument of God through whom the Messiah entered the earth, yet she was not left to fulfill this magnificent plan alone. Although her faith in God was unshakable, that which had happened to her was beyond far-fetched, and because of that, Joseph had fully intended to secretly send her away to let her start a new life on her own far from the judging suspicions of the townspeople.

But God had another plan, and He was entirely capable of making it known to Joseph, whom He had chosen just as He had chosen Mary. And through their faith and obedience, the Messiah grew up in a loving, righteous home.

Has God put a dream or desire in your heart that appears nearly impossible to fulfill? Do you feel alone in the vision He has planted within you? Take courage from the story of Mary and Joseph; when God purposes to accomplish a specific task through your life, He will speak to whomever He must—just as He did with Joseph—to see to it that His plan unfolds at just the right time.

Allow your faith in the miraculous ability of God to grow and be buoyed up within you as you consider the lives of the couple whom God chose to raise the Messiah. Does your situation look laughable? Impossible? Beyond the reach of human help or reason? Then you are just the candidate for whom God can unfold His plan—in accordance with His Word and complete with signs, wonders, behind-the-scene workings, and sweetly surprising coincidences of glory.

And yes, just like He did for Mary, God will speak to whomever He must in order to accomplish His plan in your life. In the meantime, what is your job? It is to declare as Mary did in the face of God’s impossible plan, “May it be done to me according to Your Word.”

And then, like Joseph, as you forsake neither righteousness nor kindness, simply listen to Him in your heart and obey.


I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2

© 2015, Dorothy Frick

Tomorrow: Emmanuel—God with us