Matthew 1:18-25

             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:
                         “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.

            Joseph, the man who would be the earthly father of the Holy Child, must have been a very special person – a very kind, loving, and understanding man.  The registration of citizens described in Luke meant that he and his betrothed would make a difficult journey.

            If we look closely, we can envision the couple, with Joseph making Mary as comfortable as he can, as he leads the donkey gently toward their destination.  How did he have the stamina to keep going?  Nazareth to Galilee is a lot of walking.  The circumstances under which he was laboring must have been emotionally overpowering.

            Finally, reaching Bethlehem with no “reservations” for lodging, Joseph still inquires, but is offered only the stable with the farm animals.  Just think:  An ill-smelling barn is where the Holy Child of God will be born, with no doctor to help in the birthing.  There is no cradle, just a feeding trough as a manger crib.  Joseph did his best, and stayed at Mary’s side to do whatever he could.

            Yet the most wonderful gift was given to the world that night – Jesus – Mary’s firstborn, who was slated to bring to the world the Good News for all mankind.  Here is a son for Mary and Joseph – the Son of God.  When we think about it, we can see that God not only chose Mary, but also chose Joseph – a kind, loving, wise earthly father.  What a wonderful example of family for us.  Our God is an awesome God.

As we give thanks for your servant Joseph,

help us, O God, to be ready and willing

to move at your Spirit’s calling.


Rev. Norma Jean McClung

Retired Chaplain

Parkersburg – First Christian Church