Poor Joseph. He is so often a supporting character to the Christmas story when he should be seen as the one of the main characters. Joseph had every right, according to Jewish law, to surrender Mary to be stoned to death for her “infidelity.” She brought shame to her family and in this case, she brought shame to Joseph.
People whispered to be sure, in that tiny village where they lived. Their neighbors definitely whispered about Mary, but they probably whispered about Joseph too. Hushed tones, pointing fingers, conversations that suddenly stopped when Mary or Joseph walked by.
Joseph decided not to publicly humiliate Mary, but instead to divorce her quietly. And then God stepped in and changed the outcome of what seemed more like a soap opera story line than the lineage of God Incarnate.
But after he had considered 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 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.” (Matthew 1:20-21.)
Can you image how Joseph felt when he woke the next day? His whole worldview was different. He saw the sky differently, children differently– he saw Mary differently.
He had the courage to love her anyway, to publicly declare her as his wife- anyway, to bring her to his home anyway. To marry her anyway.
There is an incredible courage in the man who does the right thing– the thing they are called to do– the very thing that God designed and planned for them to do.
Joseph stood by Mary for the long view, instead of running away because of the shortview so many others had about his and her perceived behavior.
Joseph was the “Father with skin on” for Jesus. Joseph is the one who taught his first son how to hold the hammer and the chisel, how to build something that would last for years to come.
Little did Joseph understand that the very thing Jesus would build would not be with tools, but with His very life, a bridge from Heaven to Earth that would stand for all eternity.
All because Joseph had the courage to stand for what was right- anway.