This weekend we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus, to a virgin named Mary who was betrothed to Joseph. Mary is infamous for choosing life! She's infamous for saying yes to God! And above all infamous for being the mother of Jesus.
And quite easily, she could have been famous in her village for being stoned to death for adultery as an engaged women.
Here's their story (the LaRose paraphrase):
Mary, not yet married and a virgin, had quite the situation to explain to her fiance, Joseph, when she found herself unexpectedly pregnant with the Messiah, Jesus. She had to tell Joseph.
"Sooooooo Joseph... I'm with child. And it's not yours, since you know, we haven't consummated our marriage yet. But don't worry, this kid is the Messiah- I'm naming Him Jesus!-, and God, through the Holy Spirit, is His Father. An angel named Gabriel told me so!"
Now I'm not a man, so I don't want to assume his thought process- Plus, I was born 1,992 years after Jesus on a different continent- but Joseph probably had one of those jaw dropping, head tilt moments, followed by a "What?!......"
See, this is where Joseph finds himself. His to-be wife is pregnant, by not even a human being she claims, and the wedding isn't soon enough to play it off as his. AND, their cultural traditions and laws would typically condemn her to being stoned to death for bringing him this immense amount of shame- obviously this would take Mary's life as well as the to-be born Messiah's.
But Joseph is a real solid guy. He's a descendant of the great King David, and he really does care for Mary. He decides the best route should be to break off the engagement quietly, sparing her and the baby's life. To him, this was a great idea compared to the alternative.
This separated him from the shame of her pregnancy-out-of-wedlock, and left him guilt free from causing her death.
She, on the other hand, would ultimately have little to no rights, totally non-marriage material after this, and essentially all opportunity to make gains to better her life for her child would be gone. But at least she wouldn't be dead, and neither would this... Jesus.
God had bigger plans though you see. He knew the heart of Joseph. He knew his compassion for Mary, but also his devotion to God, Himself.
Que Gabriel the angel again. Gabriel says, "Bro, stick with her. Everything she says is true! He'll be called Immanuel just like the prophet said!" .
True to his nature, Joseph followed as God instructed through Gabriel. He married that pregnant lady against all tradition, law, and customs. AND, he became the adopted dad to Jesus, Son of God- the Messiah.
And that's the story.
Joseph was the most stunning example of a man and what he ought to do in an unexpected pregnancy experience. He married Mary- the woman who assuredly brought criticism, shame, and ridicule to him, raised that baby into a fine, fine man- the best their ever was actually, and devoted his life to God.
He did it for her. He did it for his adopted son. And above all, he did it for God.
These are all lessons today's dads could take heed to practice.
There is promise in becoming a father, even in the worst, or most bizarre of circumstances. There is opportunity and hope in choosing to support, honor, and love the mother of your baby, even if ultimately marriage doesn't happen. There is the immense fulfillment of living out the life God called you to live as a dad raising his child by the Word and will of God.
And in the negative? There is a gaping wound of abandonment if you choose to walk away from the mother of your child, and the child in question. You forgo the blessings of stepping into the role of father. You bypass the opportunity to show her and the baby who Jesus is, in you.
Joseph was like so many new dads... surprised by his circumstances. But men... dad's... choose like Joseph chose. Choose her, choose that baby, and above all, choose God.
Merry Christmas friends of First Choice!
Our prayer for you this Christmas is that you extend the love of Jesus to all, bringing hope to the hopeless, and love to those in need; Intentionally make time for those that matter, and share your extra with someone who doesn't have any; And above all, choose God this season, and every day beyond!
With love, upon love, upon love,
Team First Choice