Day 7: You're What?!

But instead I am applying for a job as an elf. Even worse than applying is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn’t even find work as an elf. That’s when you know you’re a failure.
— David Sedaris, Holidays on Ice
The Birth of Jesus
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).
Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.
— Matthew 1

So, Joseph.

Sweet teenage boy. Engaged to his girl. Looking forward to the up-coming wedding, to his fiancee becoming his wife, to living a quiet, respectable life in society.

And then, THIS. 

"I'm pregnant."

The room spins a little bit. Is it hot in here? What did she say? Surely not pregnant? She's joking. Haha. Jokes on me, right? Right? What? When? Now what? What in the world?

"I'm pregnant."

Her dad is going to kill me. My dad is going to kill me. I'm dead meat and I did nothing.  

"I'm pregnant." 

I am supposed to hear these words out of her mouth about MY baby. Not someone else's.

"I'm pregnant."

His world is spinning. What felt like faith now looks like failure. He needs a way out.  

But he loves her and he is a noble man.
He is chagrined but noble. Humiliated but honorable. Distressed but upstanding.

I just adore Joseph. Some men would be in a flying rage, embarrassed and out to blame. Not Joseph. He's God's man in this. And God makes sure to reinforce that with a message in a dream.

Stay in the game, Joseph. This is the most unexpected news, but expect Me to be in it. Because I am. I always Am. I Am. 

Dreams and Angels and Babies. What a Christmas. Seriously, Christmas is outlandish! It's WAY over the top. Virgins and Shepherds and a Choir in the sky? Unbelievable. Unless you believe. Which is the fun part. The faith part. The fantastic part.

Joseph made plans to "take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced." I have no idea what kind of plans he had, but I know one thing: he had grace in his heart for Mary.

Just like God had grace in His heart for us. Joseph's heart mirrors the One he is about to raise.

What a gift to everyone involved. God keeps unexpectedly giving good gifts in the Christmas story. We turn the page and we find another. Joseph.

Something else to note: God loved Joseph and had a plan to bless him and have a relationship with him. He wanted to increase Joseph's faith in this outlandish virgin birth plan. So He gave him a dream and an angel. What a Good Dad He is! He loves His kids and loves to help them, give them good things, show them the way. 

Maybe the next time something seems outlandish and straight up impossible in our lives (in our infertility, in our broken marriage, in our jobs, in our loneliness, in our depression, in our move across the country) we can recall Joseph. We can remember God in Joseph's impossible story. We can expect the unexpected to help us believe. We can remember that God is very FOR us and loves us with a gift-giving love. Thank God.

Dear God, Thank you for using impossible things to help us through impossible situations. Thank you for ordinary Joseph in this extraordinary plan. Thank you for giving good gifts. For your love. For your grace in your heart for me. For your joy in the fun of faith. Amen.