Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But 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.” —Matthew 1:19-20
One good thing about having four different Gospels in our Bible is that we get to read about Jesus’ life from different perspectives. Only two Gospels tell how Jesus’ birth came about, and each of those has a very particular focus. Luke’s stories are centered on Mary and her experiences as his mother, while Matthew’s stories focus on Joseph and his experiences as Jesus’ adoptive father. Do you need an example of a strong, bold, and courageous woman and mother? Read the first two chapters of Luke to see how Mary lives out her faith. Or need a reminder of how one man’s compassion and selfless valor kept the Christ-child safe? Read the first two chapters of Matthew to see how Joseph conducted himself. (Joseph only shows up in these two chapters in the Bible.)
Of course, you don’t have to be a woman to aspire to Mary’s example or a man to aspire to Joseph’s. God needed the strength and willingness of both of them to bring Jesus into this world. We know from Matthew and Luke that both of them had some serious doubts about what God asked of them, but both still said yes.
For reflection: Who do you find yourself more drawn to, Mary or Joseph? Why? What about them inspires you?