When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. (Matthew 1:24)
When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and then to shepherds with good news for the world (Luke 1:26-27; 2:10), was it good news to this teenage girl?
Might Mary have thought: How do I explain my pregnancy to my family? Will my fiancé Joseph call off the betrothal? What will the townspeople say? And even if I get through that, how will I survive as a mother if I am all alone?
When Joseph learned about Mary’s pregnancy, he was troubled too. What now? He could go ahead with the marriage, split with her openly and allow her to be publicly scorned, or break off the engagement quietly.
As Joseph slept what must have been a disturbed sleep, God spoke to him in a dream, “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:20). And Joseph did exactly that!
For Mary and Joseph, Christmas began with submitting themselves to God in spite of the unthinkable life-challenges that lay before them. Entrusting themselves to God, they demonstrated for us the promise: “If anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them.” (1 John 2:5)
May God’s love fill our hearts this Christmas season — and every day — as we trust and obediently live for Him.