First United Presbyterian Church

Joseph’s Lessons for Advent

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. 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.’ 22 All 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.’ 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25 but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Joseph doesn’t speak in the Bible, and we aren’t told a lot about him. We know that he was a righteous man and of the lineage of David, and that’s about all.

Matthew tells us that he realized while he and Mary were engaged that she was pregnant. He didn’t want to expose her to shame, so he planned to break off the engagement quietly. Then an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him not to hesitate to go ahead with his marriage.

The angel didn’t tell him to avoid being angry or hurt, but not to be afraid – just as the angel Gabriel told Mary not to be afraid.

Just like Mary, Joseph accepted the words of the angel, cast away fear, and went on to accept and care for Mary and Jesus.


Looking to the example of Joseph, we can resolve this Advent season to listen for the word of God and apply it boldly to our lives.

Contributed by Rebecca Haden

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