Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:There are times when God just doesn't seem to make sense. Why put Joseph through the torment of thinking Mary had been unfaithful? Why put Mary in such a questionable position? I don't have any good answers for this, but that God works in our failings and weaknesses, and sometimes even in our strength. He chose Joseph, who showed himself a man of kindness and character, which of course he knew him to be. A man who listened to God, who paid attention to his dreams and didn't hesitate. This is the man whose obedience and quick action will later save Jesus from Herod's soldiers. This is the man who would raise God's son, who would raise God incarnate.
"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
This last Sunday in Advent, I'll say a special prayer of thanksgiving for Joseph, and remember his kindness.