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 .... (Matthew 1:18b-20a)
Consider Joseph. Here he is, stunned by the news that his fiancée is pregnant by someone else—so what does he do? Apparently, he goes home, lies down on his bed, and thinks. At least, that's what I deduce from the fact that he then falls asleep and sees an angel telling him the truth about Mary—and the glorious news about Jesus.
But it's the quiet response I can't get over. How many men in his position would have raged and roared, letting the whole neighborhood know the situation? How many would have made a snap decision then and there, to everybody's pain?
But Joseph isn't like this. He thinks. He prays. He takes time to consider, not just his own future, but Mary's. Joseph is a just man, and also a merciful one. He leaves time between the news and the decision. And during that time, God reaches him.
Joseph reminds me of God the Father.
Because God, too, had bad news once upon a time, and had to consider what to do about it. His beloved human beings had rebelled against Him—had listened to the devil—had broken themselves and their world. And God responded with mercy. He sent Jesus to be one of us, a human being. He lived with us, served and cared for us, and gave His life for us. Through His death and resurrection, He brought us back to God the Father—no longer rebels, but now beloved children.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You that You are patient and merciful with us, because You love us. Amen.
* Are you hot-tempered, or do you take your time to make a decision?
* When you are troubled and confused, where do you look for help?
* Why do you think God allowed Joseph to struggle with this news before He told him the truth?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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