Joseph and Mary were more than engaged. The custom of their day recognized “betrothal” as more of a commitment, and even more binding, than engagement. So when Joseph learned Mary was with child before they had been together as husband and wife, he faced a difficult situation. Jewish custom would have allowed him to break off the arrangement, leaving Mary in disgrace. He had decided to divorce her quietly, a decision with life-altering, long-term consequences for them both. One wonders how Joseph reached his decision. Did he make use of the problem solving process? Did he identify all of his options, weigh the pros and cons of each one, and select the one that made the most sense? Perhaps he even questioned the rationale of God’s plan.
We know that Joseph was a righteous man and, in all likelihood, he spent time in prayer seeking an answer to his problem. From the angel in his dream, he received God’s command to take Mary as his wife. In the end, Joseph put all of his faith in God and did as he was commanded. He did not worry about what the neighbors might think. He may not have felt that it made perfect sense, however, he trusted God to be in control. He believed in God to have the wisdom and power to fulfill the prophecy spoken of for so many years. And on Christmas, the Holy Spirit blessed Joseph and Mary with His son, Jesus, the King of Kings, Immanuel, “God with us”.
Prayer: Oh, God, Help me to be more like Joseph. I know I try to be in control and make rational decisions on my own too much, when what I need to do is put more trust in your counsel. When I have tough decisions to make in life, remind me to rely upon you to be in control of the situation and to trust that you have the wisdom and power to guide me in righteous ways. Thank you for sending your son, Jesus, to live among us. Hear my prayer in His name, Amen.