Joseph: 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 my reputation. It seemed like the kind, and compassionate way to handle the situation. I’m sorry, it’s not a situation; it is a real life person, my dear Mary. I finally realized it was not all about me, and my feelings.
Mary: Thank you for that, Joseph. I was so scared, and you had every right to react in a spiteful 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: 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, or to control me. I wanted God’s heart to guide me.
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.
Mary: So, Joseph, tell them what happened next. What was it that changed your mind from divorcing me, even if quietly, to instead actually marrying me?
Joseph: The Lord changed my mind, Mary, but before that he changed my heart. And since then he has been transforming my heart.
Mary: Go on, Joseph, tell them about your dream.
Joseph: Okay, so there I was napping …
Mary: Oh, my husband loves to nap!
Joseph: Okay, okay, I do love to nap, everyone knows that. But in a dream 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
Mary: You know, dear husband, that about that time I had the same sort of dream?
Joseph: And how did you respond to the angel’s proclamation, Mary?
Mary: You know exactly what I said, Joseph, 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.”3
Joseph: That’s my Mary, or I guess I should say that is the Lord’s Mary. 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.”
Mary: Our child, Joseph?
Joseph: Yes, my dear, our child. I will take your son, the Lord’s son, into my home and love him and raise him as my own. 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: You always say there is no good in projecting out into the future, Joseph, and that tomorrow can worry about itself.4 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, leading the way.
Joseph: Yes he is, sweet Mary. He always knows what is best for us. So let’s go forward into a new year with trust, not fear, and the Lord’s perfect plan.
1Hosea 6:6 and Jesus at Matthew 9:13