Matthew 1:19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered 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 home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Joseph’s preparation and concerns for the journey may have begun with the much the same list as Mary’s but his reality must have been heavily slanted toward the actual physical effort of the journey itself: caring needed for a pregnant wife and the animal that would be their transportation from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Joseph was obviously a deeply caring man. Some of his concerns for the journey must have been:
Coming up with the taxes required
The cost of the journey itself
A long foot and donkey trip – 80 miles
Hilly terrain, high/Low temps – 58/44º F
Nightly shelter and warmth for them all
Protecting his family
Scripture gives us this one fact that explains a lot. Joseph “was faithful…” It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to understand the problem Mary’s pregnancy created for him and yet his faithful response was caring, not to disgrace her. He came up with a Plan B, [no wonder I like him]. But God had a plan that was even better.
Joseph already understood “God with us” in the same way his forefathers had: a powerful and majestic Deity, but a baby? He became one of the very first people to understand the “new reality of Immanuel.” Joseph’s Part this Advent is that God chose him to be our example of “adopting” Immanuel in-the-flesh as our own.