He jolted awake, his body drenched in sweat. The fragrance of freshly cut wood wafted through the darkness from the shop next door.
Joseph, son of David. A fancy title for a poor carpenter from Nazareth.
Don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, for what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
He grew up with the Scriptures. He knew the prophecies. Someday God would send Israel a Savior. But here? Now? In his family? What did he have to offer God? He wasn’t rich, famous, or powerful, and had no influence with those who were.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
Jesus – one who saves. Surely the Messiah would be born in a family who had more than he. Why, it was all he could do to prepare a home for Mary. He’d worked so hard, was almost done when she shattered him with the news that she was pregnant.
“NO!” he cried into the darkness. “It can’t be! Not Mary!”
He knew the laws, the punishment for adultery. He had no choice. He had to do what was right. Maybe he could divorce her quietly, save them both the shame, the explanations to prying questions.
Don’t be afraid to take Mary home as your wife.
Could it be? Could it really be? Joseph sat up, the fingers of dawn reaching into the shadows of his heart.
Don’t be afraid.
His sense of justice gave way to the need to believe the impossible. He reached for his robe and sandals. There was much to do. Mary was waiting.
As I light the fourth candle on my Advent wreath, I pray for the strength to respond to Your call, dear God, even when I don’t understand. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Matthew 1: 18-25