Matthew 1:19 – Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
1 Corinthians 13:7 – [Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)
When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant and decided to break their engagement, he was not aware who had fathered the child. This revelation did not come until after his mind was made up.
Joseph's decision was righteous, and not based upon revenge, anger, bitterness, humiliation, or hatred. It was made so that Mary would not have to pay for her "sin", for this is how her condition would have been viewed. Rather Joseph's choice was based on love. It was true love, the kind that always protects another person. It was not the kind of love that removes or shields people from the consequences of their sin, but the kind of love that allows people's dignity to remain intact amidst whatever consequences may come as a result of their actions.
How different our lives and our world might be if more of us exercised this kind of love when people humiliate, hurt, or disappoint us.
Joseph had a decision to make concerning his bride-to-be. He chose righteously, basing that choice on true love.
God also had a decision to make concerning His bride, the church, which had sinned so grievously against Him since time began. His choice, which came before Joseph's, reflected an even greater righteousness and true love. His resolution to save us from our sin resulted in His Son coming in the form of a baby, who was born to Joseph's fiancée, the virgin Mary. That Son, named Jesus, came so that no one need be destroyed, but by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. Jesus came to help, to put the world right again. Those who trust in Him are acquitted from the guilt of their sin and protected spiritually from eternal death. They are resurrected into abundant life by the power of True Love.
Prayer: Lord God, wonderful Father, thank You for true love. Your love came to us in the form of Jesus, who came not to condemn us but to offer the protection of the saving power of His blood. This Christmas season, may the world be protected from the forces of evil that seek to blind people from the truth of Your love. May many come to see and embrace Jesus for who He really is. In Christ's name. Amen.