Matthew 1:18-25 ESV

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. 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. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

Joseph the Carpenter

There were not many in Nazareth who would have called Joseph the carpenter a smart man. He was a skilled enough craftsman (and his prices were reasonable), but he lacked almost all common sense. Almost every day, the townspeople would watch as Joseph walked quickly back to his workshop, fetching a crucial tool he had forgotten to pack in his tool belt. His neighbors regularly had to return his donkey to him, because he had forgotten to latch the gate to the stable. His father, Jacob the carpenter, was fond of saying that his son would be the only person to bring a loaf of bread to a knife fight.

He was an incredibly well-meaning man, though, and so most of the community was tolerant of his antics. There were few people who were kinder than Joseph. He was known to help out the poorer families in the neighborhood without accepting any payment in return. His mother, a more patient person than Jacob, often told her son that the LORD simply took some of his brain and used it to make his heart even bigger. Everybody loved Joseph, perhaps because he had such a deep love for everyone.

That was why, when his fiancé began to show the first signs of pregnancy, no one could bear to tell him. She had seemed like such a sweet young woman at first, and people tried not to notice when she began to wear baggier, looser clothing. As she continued to grow, however, it became unavoidable to notice; she was a small girl and her stomach began to bulge out awkwardly from her petite frame. Still, despite the evidence, Joseph seemed not to understand. He would joke that she had finally begun to develop her womanly figure, and then seriously say that he would love her no matter how fat she might get. Some said it was denial, but most of the town knew that Joseph didn’t have a clue. After all, it was common knowledge that he was not a smart man.

People began to feel shame for Joseph, but no one confronted him. He had such love for her, and no one wanted to be the person to break that giant heart of his. Still, the further along the girl got into her pregnancy, however, the more embarrassing it became. Finally, Jacob pulled Joseph aside and told him in clear words what had taken place. Joseph listened intently, and asked many questions. After a long time, the conversation ended and Joseph went to his home.

He walked into his dark house and sat down on the stool next to his bed. For many hours, Joseph worked over in his mind all of the things his father had told him. It seemed impossible.  He sat in the dark, considering what this pregnancy truly meant. He had given her his heart, but it seemed that he had not gotten hers in return. Joseph knew that there would be some who would insist that he publically bring her out into the town square, humiliating her in front of the entire town, but he could not bring himself to do such a thing. What good was love if it could be so easily taken away? He could not hurt her like that, regardless of what she had done. As he slipped off his cloak and slipped into bed, he knew what he would do: the next morning he would go to her and look into her eyes one last time before he quietly ended the whole thing. His vision began to blur as heavy tears gathered at the corners of his eyes, and his chest grew heavier with each breath. Joseph quietly asked the LORD to take away his heart, because he feared that it was too broken to love again, and he sobbed himself to sleep.

Christopher Wurpts

Prayer: Dear God, thank you so for the role angels have in the world. Because of your love an angel came to Joseph and the story that could have been becomes the story that is. We are thankful for this and we glorify your name. Amen.

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