The Sinister Side of Christmas, Part 2

Then there was Joseph.

Image his shock when Mary told him she was pregnant! I have often wondered when she told him and what she told him. Her story was improbable at best, and evidently Joseph, even as a believing Jew, didn’t buy it and had “resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Mat 1.19  ESV) Imagine his heartbreak at not only feeling he had overestimated the virtue of the girl he loved, but that he would now have to take measures that would affect both of their futures forever.

He had two other options: a public stoning outside the door of Mary’s family home or the payment of fifty shekels of silver to her father, a sizable sum of money for a poor tradesman–especially one who had been saving up for his marriage and spending his disposable income on items his new family would need. Stoning was a horrible prospect and one that he wanted to avoid at all costs. But fifty shekels of silver? He just didn’t have that kind of money. Divorce, even though it would mean the end of his dreams for a good life with a good woman, seemed to be  the only viable alternative.

An angel of the Lord, knowing his dilemma, gave him a fourth option: marry Mary anyway, assured of her virginity and integrity, and live with the stigma and gossip and suspicion–even that of his own participation in her sin and his nose-thumbing at the Mosaic law.

This was not the easy way out. It would enable him to share his life with this remarkable girl, as he had originally chosen to do, but what a life it would be! Imagine the irony of living under a cloud of moral outrage and suspicion while raising the holy God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–and Moses–as your own son!


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