“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” (Matthew 1:20-21).
Mary looked unusually radiant as she came walking toward Joseph. His heart leapt within him at the sight of his bride-to-be. She seemed to him to be more full of life than ever before.
“Joseph, my beloved, I have something I must tell you,” Mary said.
Joseph smiled broadly and gave her his undivided attention, captivated by the light in her eyes. In the following few moments as he listened carefully to his love, his world came crashing down like the walls of Jericho. Mary was pregnant, and Joseph was not the father!
Joseph’s heart was broken and his mind raced with a hundred questions. “Who is the father? How could Mary have done such a thing? What will I tell my friends? What will the family have to say? What is to become of our marriage plans?”
It’s true that Mary had said something about an angel, but Joseph didn’t really hear much after she told him she was with child. Everything went kind of foggy at that point.
He left Mary and wandered off into the night, trying to sort out his options. The hard choice, according to the Law, would be to stone Mary for her unfaithfulness, or at the very least, put her to an open shame before her family and friends by denouncing her as an adulteress. Joseph’s anger may have driven him to such measures had not his love for Mary been so strong.
He was an honorable man and thought of a quiet, private settlement beyond the public eye, keeping Mary from scandal. Still, the more he tried to work through his feelings, the greater became his overwhelming sense of despair.
It was a night he thought would never end. But then something happened.
(to be continued)