I hope you will read our gospel lesson for Sunday (Matthew 1:18-25). You've likely read it before. You've almost certainly heard it before. Read it anew.
Put yourself in Joseph's place. In those days there was a two-phased engagement. You might notice that the scripture talks about Joseph and Mary being engaged (verse 18) and refers to Joseph as Mary's husband (verse 19). Both are right - Mary and Joseph were between phase 1 (making a commitment to marry) and phase 2 (consummating their marriage). The rules were clear: they were in a lifelong relationship already.
What is the righteous thing for Joseph to do now that Mary is pregnant (which has the appearance of her unfaithfulness or of someone mistreating her terribly)? What is the righteous thing for him to do when the scripture is clear about what should be done (Deuteronomy 22:23-24)? What is the righteous thing to do when a messenger of God intrudes on your dream and directs you in a way that is different than all other indications?
Read Matthew's story anew and join us Sunday morning for the final Sunday of Advent.
Also, plan to be with us Sunday afternoon (4:00 pm) for the very meaningful Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. If you've been waiting (patiently or impatiently) for Christmas carols, this is where you need to be. The carols are interspersed with readings that remind us of why we need a savior and what God has been up to throughout in bringing salvation, as well as with beautiful music that the Chancel Choir has spent months preparing.
See you Sunday,