and her husband joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. but as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “joseph, son of david, do not fear to take mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. [matthew 1:19-20]
joseph was a righteous man. a good man in the sight of the Lord, and in kindness he resolved to divorce mary quietly. he had a plan. a plan no one would have fully understood. a woman who had cheated on her betrothed deserved to be disgraced. he had within his power a full blown scandal, which would have ruined marys reputation and completely marked her life. this is the man who would raise the child Jesus, a man who would try to protect mary in what he thought to be her shame.
but of course, the Lord had a different plan. he wanted Jesus to be raised by mary and joseph. and “behold”, this is a word of attention, demands the audience to be alert. this isn’t for joseph’s sake, this is for our sake, the readers.
“do not be afraid”, this refers to josephs fear of the social stigma, what others may think. he has been considering how to divorce her so that she would not be put to shame, but also so that he would not be put to shame. mary was pregnant and soon would begin to show.
our plan is limited. joseph thought mary was carrying another mans child, but God made it clear to him that it was his child, “from the Holy Spirit.” now, i do not think anyone is going to get this message from an angel. i do know that i often plan. i consider all the factors and yet still my plan falls short in comparison to what God has planned.
please hold your plans with and open hand. God’s plan can change your life, can grow you, or it could even be changing someone around you. but, this plan that joseph was a part of led to our Savior walking on earth. the same God is planning your life.
~ holly russell