“Well, this is Joseph and I’m back, and I’m with Mary, and yes, we are together! Maybe you already know the rest of our story:
I had decided to divorce Mary quietly, foregoing my dowry, and I guess foregoing at least some of my reputation. It seemed like the kind, and compassionate, way to handle the situation.
“I’m sorry, it’s not the situation, it’s a real life person, Mary. I realized it was not all about me, but about Mary as well.”
“Thank you for that, Joseph. I was so scared,” Mary said, somberly, “and you had every right to react in a harmful way. I didn’t know what to do. How could I convince you I had not been unfaithful to you? It hurt me so to know how much your feelings were hurt.”
Joseph responded quickly with, “Oh, my feelings were hurt alright, Mary, but the Lord has shown me over the years that although feelings can be okay as servants, they are terrible masters. I didn’t want my feelings to master me, and certainly not to control me. I wanted God’s words to guide me. And we both know God desires a merciful heart much more than a dutiful, but cold, rule-keeping heart.1
“If I want our son to show compassion, not condemnation, how could I not show the same to his mother?
“And so sweet Mary, I realized God wanted me to be kind, instead of insisting I was right. And besides, I kept thinking about how many times he has forgiven me, and shown me mercy. How could I not show the same to you, his precious daughter?”
“So, Joseph, tell them what happened next,” Mary said, nudging Joseph’s side. “What was it that changed your mind from divorcing me, even if quietly, to actually marrying me?”
Joseph pondered Mary’s question for a moment and then replied, “The Lord changed my mind, but before that he changed my heart, Mary. And since then he has been transforming my heart. I get the sense from him he wants me to model this transformed heart for our new son. I’ve heard it said that the Lord is in the business of changing hearts, and changed hearts change lives, and relationships, and maybe even the world.”
“Go on, Joseph,” Mary said, “tell them about your dream.”
“Okay, so there I was dozing …”
Mary interrupted Joseph with a big grin, “Oh, my husband loves to doze!”
Joseph nodded, raising his hands in mock surrender, “Alright dear Mary, I do love to doze, everyone knows that. And in a dream an angel, I guess it was an angel, appeared to me and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”2
“You know dear husband, about that time I had the same sort of dream,” Mary said with a serious look. “The angel said his name was Gabriel, and he said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.’”3
“And what,” Joseph paused, “… how … did you respond to the angel’s proclamation?”
“You know exactly what I said, Joseph,” Mary responded quickly, looking straight into Joseph’s eyes, “and you know I learned this from you. I wanted to react in fear, but in my heart I knew I could respond in faith, so I simply said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.’”4
“That’s my Mary, or I guess I should say that’s the Lord’s Mary,” Joseph beamed, “because that is what you are: the Lord’s. And that is why I love you so much. And why I am so proud to say you are my wife, and for you to be the mother of our child.”
“Our child, Joseph?”
“Yes, my dear, our child. I will take your son, the Lord’sson, into my home and love him and raise him as my own,” Joseph said with a look of sincerity.
“So here we are, Mary. You’re pregnant and we are on our way to Bethlehem. This is all so mystifying. What is to come of us?”
Mary was silent for a moment, and then said with a big smile, “You always say there is no good in projecting out into the future, Joseph, and that tomorrow can worry about itself.5 So let’s just take one day at a time, and know the Lord is for us, know he is with us, and know he is even out before us. I believe, I trust, he knows exactly what will happen in Bethlehem. So let’s just follow the Lord’s promise in our favorite psalm, you know the one, don’t you Joseph?”
“Oh yes, Psalm 37:4 – ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart,’ Joseph again beamed with pride. “Oh my, the desires of my heart. You know sweet Mary, you are the desire of my heart. And even this special son who is to be born to us – he is already a part of my heart’s desires.
“Isn’t this what God is saying? If we delight ourselves in him, placing our trust in him, seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness, and not letting our feelings, nor our fears, master us, we will have the true desires of our hearts. And we could have never guessed this is what they would be.”
“But God knew, Joseph, even when we didn’t have a clue,” Mary responded. “ He knows the true desires of our hearts.”
Joseph put his arm around Mary and said, “Yes he does, sweet Mary. He always knows. So let’s go forward with trust, not fear, for Bethlehem awaits us.”