18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[e] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 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. 21 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.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Joseph, a man of Nazareth, selected for his wife the beautiful teenager Mary. They were both faithful practicing Jews. Their love story would surely make a great romantic novel or movie, if only we knew more about how they met and their courtship. The betrothal (engagement) had taken place and Mary would have up to one year to move into Joseph’s house.
During this waiting time, the angel Gabriel came to Mary. Gabriel told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would give birth to the Son of God. She was to name the baby Jesus. Mary pondered this in her heart.
Next, Gabriel appeared to Joseph and explained to him what was happening to Mary and that he was not to be afraid to keep her as his wife. Joseph, being a man who always did what was right, did not want to disgrace Mary. He loved her and wanted her for his wife. How wonderful for Mary to have a nice gentleman like Joseph to be her husband, a man who was thoughtful and caring.
Joseph talked with Mary about the need to go to Bethlehem to register for the census, which had been ordered by Herod the Great. Joseph told Mary not to fear the trip, that he would take care of her. He saw that the provisions were packed and the donkeys were made ready. The journey would be almost ninety miles and would take about five days.
Joseph’s thoughtfulness toward Mary was evident in his efforts to find them a place to stay in Bethlehem. He saw to it that she had a comfortable place to lay in the stable and probably found a midwife for her. He filled a feeding trough (manger) with hay for baby Jesus and greeted the shepherds who came.
Though not rich, Joseph secured the turtle doves for the Jewish ceremony of purification for Mary before they left on the trip back to Nazareth with baby Jesus. Over the years at the temple, Joseph provided lambs for other sacrifices.
Joseph probably owned his carpentry shop and there would have taught Jesus and his other children not only carpentry, but other lessons of life.
From all accounts, Joseph was a good husband to Mary. He took care of his family regardless of the situation they were in. He and Mary made a wonderful couple to raise God’s son, Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Lord, even today, help us to follow the loving, caring and thoughtful examples of Joseph and Mary.