Hearts desire. How would you feel if the girl you were engaged to told you she was pregnant and it wasn’t by you? Would the relationship end immediately? Well that situation happened to Joseph who was engaged to Mary. Joseph was a descendant of the house of David. In the olden days engagements had the same force of marriage. It bound one to another. So it was pretty serious. Joseph’s fiancé told him that she was carrying a child. Being that he was a good man he didn’t want to embarrass her with a public rant so he decided to end the engagement quietly, like a gentleman. That should have been it. However, even though he was greatly disappointed, it wasn’t the end. It was the beginning.  His choice turned out to be an heroic and self-less love story for the ages.

Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally.

He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the 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 she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. (Matt 1:19-20)

What can Joseph teach us? Sometimes life deals us a difficult hand. The decisions made with the dealt hand can make a monumental difference our lives. It’s nice to have an angel explain things to you, but most of us don’t have angels visiting us in our dreams. (Well not since the late ’60’s for me anyway) The point that is made in this passage from Matthew  is that this good, good man chose not to send Mary away and have nothing to do with her anymore. He chose to stay, marry her, love her and help raise her child. A great self-sacrificing decision. He chose to be with his new family every step of the way. He chose to do the right thing. He was there when his foster (really adopted) son took his first steps.  He took his family to Egypt to escape Herod the Great’s purge of all male children two years old and younger. He was there to watch his son go off to the Nazareth Junior Prom. (Not sure about that one, but if there was a prom, Joseph would have fixed Jesus up with a tuxedo-toga so he would look just right). So the bottom line, I suppose, is what life throws at you, catch and make something good out of it. It may make a huge difference.

…and so it goes