Matthew 1: 18-25 18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah* took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ 22All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:23 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’, which means, ‘God is with us.’ 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son;* and he named him Jesus.
We can learn a lot from Joseph. It is easy to rush to judgement on someone; but the Christmas story of this righteous man inspires us. Even when we are right- when we have every cause to pass judgement - let us, like Joseph, seek instead to find the way of mercy and kindness. And let us have his courage as well. We spoke last week about the courage of Mary to say ‘yes’ to birthing God’s promise and hope into the world. Joseph, too, inspires us: to be willing to let mercy and kindness guide our actions and our relationships; to listen for the voice of God – sometimes in the most unlikely places; and to be open to when and where God can use us to help bring Love into the world.