Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)
Verse 18Now 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. Verse 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. Verse 20But 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. Verse 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Verse 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: Verse 23"Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." Verse 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, Verse 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
We all know about the Annunciation of Mary, when an angel told her she would bear a son. She responded positively in her famous Magnificat (Luke 1), submitting herself to be a servant of God. Joseph, on the other hand, did not respond so well to the news that Mary was pregnant. In fact, he sought ways to get out of his relationship with her. He needed an annunciation, too. He needed to hear from an angel that Mary's pregnancy would not ruin his life.
Little did he know that as a member of the lineage of David, a descendent of Israel, he was the perfect earthly father for Jesus Christ. Joseph would have understood the words of the Lord through the prophet that pointed to Mary, the young woman who would give birth to a son and call him Emmanuel. Seven hundred years earlier, King Ahaz refused to accept any kind of sign from God. But Joseph listened to God; he had eyes to see and ears to hear. Joseph trusted the Lord, and unto us was born a son.
Lord, thank you for Joseph — that quiet guy about whom we know so little and yet without whom our salvation would not have taken place. He was "Abba" to the kid, Jesus. Thank you for dads this season. Amen.