December 16, 2015

Advent 3-Wednesday-Joseph

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen

This week of rejoicing in the power of God is a good time to look at the man who played an important part in the coming of Jesus. Joseph of Nazareth is often overlooked because his is a supporting role. He is not one of the stars of the show. However, Joseph had a difficult decision when faced with Mary’s announcement of her pregnancy. (My novel, Mary, My Love, explores the whole Nativity story from Joseph's viewpoint.)

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  (Matthew 1:18-25)

In Joseph’s time, a betrothal was just as binding as the actual marriage and infidelity was punishable by stoning, if the man demanded it. The other options were to marry the woman (and admit that you had slept together before the marriage), or to quietly divorce her. This was what Joseph decided to do.

Was there a time when you were torn between what you thought you should do and what society was urging you to do?
Tomorrow we'll see how God changed Joseph's mind.

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