After we had eaten, as we all sat about in utter contentment enjoying the company and the ambiance, my professor called us all to gather in the living room. He shared with us the Christmas story from Matthew. He focused on the righteousness of Joseph, saying things that I had never even considered. Surely, if God had chosen Mary to be Theotokos and bear the Son of God, He must also have chosen Joseph to be the man who would serve as Jesus’ earthly father.
The Scriptures speak very highly of Joseph. Not only was he of the town and lineage of David, but he had a righteousness that surpassed what was required by the law. When he discovered that Mary was pregnant, as her betrothed, he would have been justified in divorcing her publicly or even in having her stoned. And yet, this man chose to quietly divorce her, doing what he could to keep her from public disgrace. When Joseph was shown the truth of the matter, that the child within Mary was of the Holy Spirit and not of man, Joseph made the decision to save Mary’s dignity. What love. That act was one of extreme sacrifice, for the worst thing that could happen to a first century Jewish man was to be shamed. Imagine the stares and whispers as Mary began to show. Imagine the men of the village coming to Joseph, asking where Mary had been. He took her shame to preserve her dignity.
Yes. God knew unto what manner of family He was sending His Son. The man, Joseph, was righteous, loving, and upright. God had chosen him to be a part of the beautiful plan.