Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matt 1:18-21)~~
The most important thing we know about Joseph is that at the right moment in his life, he was full of faith and grace. He found out that the woman he was engaged to be married to was pregnant, and though Mary had the benefit of the message of an angel who explained her unique conception, Joseph hadn’t been visited yet. All he had was Mary’s word. So what was that conversation like? No, she hadn’t slept with another man. Yes, she was pregnant. And yes, a spiritual being had told her that she would conceive by a unique act of God— and as if that wasn’t enough— the child in her womb would be the Savior of the world! Why did Joseph believe her? Why did he change his first plans to quietly divorce her so as not to expose her to public shame and instead take her as his wife? I ask myself, if I were in his shoes, If I would have believed Mary.
Here is something for all of us to think about: Think of Joseph. Think of him looking into Mary’s eyes, hearing her account, knowing in his heart of hearts it was true, and having the courage to act on that faith knowledge even though he may have had doubts. As nonsensical as it seemed, he believed it. As much as the idea of a virgin conception violates every norm of what we know about real life, he knew it was possible with God. As risky as it was to stay with Mary and be branded by others as the hapless dupe of an immoral woman, Joseph decided to put everything on the line. That is true faith. And it is true grace. It wasn’t just that he believed Mary; he believed God. That God could; that God might; that God would; and that God did! May God, give us that iron-strong faith that at the birth of Jesus He really did enter this world— our world— and He is still working powerfully in it.