There was a heart broken in the Christmas story.
That of Joseph.
It became obvious that Mary was pregnant. I am guessing either Mary with her parents, or Mary’s father would have broken the news, and tried to explain what had happened. We don’t know exactly who told him, but I am sure all Joseph initially heard was the fact the baby wasn’t his.
How his heart must have broke and his eyes wept bitter tears for his shattered dreams, his crushed beliefs.
The woman he thought would be his, had been with someone else. The woman he believed pure and innocent, the woman he has imagined spending the rest of his life with.
Despite his wound,
Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced
Despite his broken heart, Joseph’s heart still showed his love for Mary. He was determined to protect her, despite his devastation.
I wonder how long it was between his heart break to God’s angel visiting him in his dream.
The bible doesn’t say exactly when, but does reveal it was while he was trying to figure a way out.
Imagine Joseph’s shock & his mental dialogue when he heard these angelic words in Matthew 1:20-23:
Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married.
Umm, really God?
Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit conceived.
A sense of awe and wonder falls.
God’s spirit has made her pregnant.
You said it again, God. I hear You, loud and clear.
She will give birth to a son…
When she does, you, Joseph, will name Him Jesus- ‘God saves’- for He will save His people from their sins. This will fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: ‘Watch for this- a virgjn will get pregnant and bear a son; They will name him Immanuel! (Hebrew for God is with us).
Wait…if God is His father, than He will be the son of God…and I am to name Him Jesus, God saves…. pause…Mary is carrying the Messiah! God is coming down to us as a baby!?!?!!
I am going to be the Messiah’s step father?!!
Oh God, what an honor.
I am about to be blessed beyond belief.
Oh God, I need You, because I can’t raise Your son or marry Mary without Your help.
Help me to protect her Lord, and keep Your son, our Messiah safe from harm.
We get a close up look at Joseph’s real character in his immediate response to the angel’s words.
The Joseph got us, and did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: he married Mary.
Joseph believed God. And chose to honor his commitment despite his broken heart.
Because knowing the whole story gave him the big picture, but I am sure it still hurt when he thought about Mary’s first horn being God’s son, and not his own flesh & blood.
Oh sure, it is an honor and pressure beyond imagining to raise God’s own son as your own.
But how many of us feel we could have done so, if we are really honest with ourselves.
Joseph must have absolutely been smitten with Mary to follow through and marry her anyway, which Joseph did.
Note it also says Joseph did not consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born.
Joseph was respectful of not only Mary, but Who she was carrying.
The heart that was broken became blessed beyond belief.
Awkward family moments continue in this past of the Advent story. A fiancee waits until after his bride gives birth before making it official.
People would have been talking behind their backs about how quickly Mary would have begun to show, smearing both their characters.
But there is no mention of Joseph waffling, but rather accepting the assignment God has given him wholeheartedly.
Joseph was an incredible man, remembered forever for both showing honor towards his bride, and helping raise another’s son as his own.