God’s Word of Joy
Matthew 1:18-25: Matthew recounts how the birth of Jesus took place. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary, to whom he is engaged, has conceived a child by the Holy Spirit, and that the child is to be named Jesus.
The Birth of Jesus Christ
18 This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. 19Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. 20While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. 21 She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.”
22Now all this happened in order to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, 23 “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”).
24So when Joseph woke up, he married Mary, as the angel of the Lord had told him to. 25 But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named him Jesus.
Today’s Key Verse: Matthew 1:23
“A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”).
It is believed that Matthew’s account of Jesus’s birth was written from the perspective of Joseph. You may wish to compare this account with the one recorded in Luke’s Gospel (1:26-38; 2:1-20) which records the story from Mary’s perspective. According to Mosaic Law, Joseph knew that Mary could be put to death by stoning (see Deuteronomy 22:21) because she became pregnant before she was married. Do you sense that he was reluctant to marry her? Why or why not? Based on today’s reading, how would you describe Joseph?
Lord God, you sent your Son Jesus into the world to save people from their sins. Thank you, God, for your loving gift and for your mercy and grace. I praise you, “Immanuel,” for being “God with us.” In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Luke 1:1-25: The birth of John the Baptist is announced.