Read Matthew 1:18-25
18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "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. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."
24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (NIV)
As we continue looking at various verses during this Advent and Christmas time, one of the most profound characters of the Christmas stories is a man who very little is written about or known about. In the Gospel of Luke, we are introduced to some of Mary’s family in that we learn about Zechariah, Elizabeth and their son John who would become John the Baptist. And over the years, people have tried to fill in the gaps with various speculations about this and that relating to Joseph. We don’t know his age and yet there are stories that say he was an older man when he was pledged to be married to Mary. Others say he was a widower. But we just don’t know.
All we really know is that he was a carpenter. He was poor. He was from the lineage of David. And he married Mary and they had children together after the birth of Jesus.
It is in the one passage that we begin to get a glimpse of who Joseph was. We see that he was a righteous man (verse 19). He was a kind man. He did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace. But in Joseph, we see the one character who was visited by an angel and did not question the angel.
Mary was visited by an angel and she asked “how was this to happen since I am a virgin.” Zechariah was visited by an angel to tell him that Elizabeth would bear a child in her old age and he was to call him John. Zechariah asked for a sign. He asked the angel, “how can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” In asking for a sign, Zechariah could not speak for over 9 months. But we see there is no question in Joseph. We simply read, “when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him.”
Joseph listened and took to heart what he was told. One of the Jewish understandings of the work of the Holy Spirit was to speak truth to humanity. Joseph did not question. He did not hesitate. He awoke and used what he heard as his guiding principle.
We are blessed with so much Scripture, with living in a time where we can read it ourselves and not have to have others read it for us. But are we really listening to what we read. Are we ready to wake from our reading and put that into practice?
God is also speaking to us in so many other ways. Are we listening? Are we getting better about hearing it to know it is of God? God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us hear God’s word and God’s truth. The season of Advent is a time to contemplate, to listen and to know that God loves you and had a purpose for your life. In a way, it is a wakeup call to arise, shine, for your light has come. It is a time to spend with God in his word and know his hope.
I hope this Advent Season has been one in which you heard God speak to you.
Blessings and Peace