“Hey Joseph… You’re fiance, Mary… She’s pregnant.”
The time when Alicia and I were engaged was one of the best seasons of my life. Never before was I anticipating something so much as I was the gathering together of all our friends and family to celebrate our wedding day—let alone the excitement of taking her as my wife!… Thinking back on it bring such a flood of good memories.
It was through that lens that I read the story of Jesus birth, which “happened this way,” as told in the gospel of Matthew. Now Matthew’s version is more condensed of the more familiar birth story in Luke, probably because it’s told from the perspective of Joseph (a man of few words in the scriptures.)
In those days a man would ask the hand of his intended bride and having been accepted, he would go and begin to make preparations to bring into their new home.
It’s fair to think that Joseph was in the middle of the great season in his life. Everything was coming together; he had woman he would marry—she was from a faithful family and a good woman. Then, the roof caved in…
When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:18–20
I love when the scriptures reveal what I think of as hidden moments of emotional relevance. You have to read slowly sometimes to pick them up. But here’s Joseph, probably heartbroken (though I’ve heard some accounts that he was angry and was willing to have her stoned… This to me is improbably given that he was described as a man of righteousness and that he was not willing to have her shamed. More likely, he loved her) but he didn’t feel like he could take her as his bride anymore despite the suggestion that hers was some kind of divine pregnancy.
But like any man reluctant for a big job he had to do, Joseph decided to sleep on it…