Faith sometimes means acting against your own instincts!
Joseph, engaged to Mary, found himself in a challenging situation. What would you do if your fiancé tells you a story that sounds like a lame excuse? Nothing made sense to Joseph anymore after seeing his fiancé returning from her recent family visit, three months pregnant. Pregnancies have always been evidence that a man and a woman had sexual relations. Claiming otherwise is foolish, which is why Mary’s pregnancy remains a hot topic. A woman getting pregnant without a guy being involved – why would God do such a thing?
However, this is Mary Joseph was dealing with here, his very own Mary. He thought he knew her. It puzzled him to think that she would go behind his back with a secret relationship, dishing a lie to explain away her pregnancy, and asking him to marry her to cover it all up. That certainly was not the Mary he was familiar with.
In sleepless nights to follow Joseph would wrestle with the prospect of getting married to cover up what he believed to be a lie. After agonizing over his decision, he was prepared to quietly break the engagement. Joseph acted very decently when he decided not to shame Mary publicly. God, however, anticipated Joseph’s reaction and sent Him an angel with an important message reassuring him that Mary had told the truth. According to Matthew’s gospel, this is what the angel told Joseph (Matthew 1:20):
“Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”
Not only had God anticipated Joseph’s reaction, He had also anticipated the world’s skepticism regarding the whereabouts of Mary’s pregnancy. So, 600 years before these events transpired, God foretold them. Isaiah wrote the famous prophecy (Isaiah 7:14):
“The Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son.”
Even though God had revealed His intentions and sent His angels to confirm His message, it still requires faith to believe Mary’s account. We know that Joseph believed and followed through with the angel’s instructions. He became Mary’s husband, named Mary’s child “Jesus”, and believed that the child she carried is the Son of God.
Similar to Joseph, we too have a choice to make. Would you take that leap of faith and believe the story of Christmas to be true?
“Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me
Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy”
(Mary’s Song co-written by Amy Grant and Chris Eaton)