18 Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah[a] 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. 19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 20 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. 21 She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (NRSV)
Ever prepare for something and then you’re thrown a curve ball? Maybe you’ve found the perfect Christmas gift for someone and then learn they already own it? Or you invited friends to dinner and you worked on the menu and cleaned your house only for them to cancel at the last minute? Or maybe a friend let you down by forgetting to meet you after you so looked forward to seeing her.
Maybe suffering one of these disappointments helps us to know in a very small way how Joseph must have felt when he learned the woman he loved and planned to marry was with child – and obviously knew it was not his.
He did not rant or get upset but made a quiet alternate plan. His reward for patience and kindness was to have an angel appear to assure him he was part of a greater design, Mary’s child was the Savior, the son of God.
Lord, help us be patient and kind when people or events let us down. Let us know that small disappointments are not the end of the world. Let us forget past hurts and concentrate on the important things this Christmas season and anticipate with joy, as Joseph did, the birth of Jesus. Amen.