She was the quintessential high school cheerleader – blond, bright personality, and bouncy. She rode the school bus with me every day. Until one day she didn’t. When people talked about it, they said it was “a sin and a shame.” She was pregnant, you see, and was sent away. She had committed a sin, and could not carry her pregnancy to term in our town.
Shame was a heavy burden in the early seventies, much different than it is now. In earlier centuries, the burden was worse. It was in such a time that Joseph faced a dilemma. A man of integrity, his betrothed was pregnant. He was not the father. He assumed she had sinned. He must have loved Mary, for he “did not want to expose her to pubic disgrace.” But if he stood by her, he would be even more shamed.
This “man of the law” was visited by an angel, and asked to stand by Mary. We regularly acknowledge the miracle of the virgin birth. We give short shrift to the blessing of Joseph standing by Mary and giving her shelter in a difficult situation. Joseph did what was right, despite the risk of both personal and public humiliation.
Joseph is a role model we should not forget. He listened to God, and followed through on what was asked. Do we do the same?
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to listen to your guidance and to follow it, even if you ask us to do difficult things. Amen