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. 19Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. 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. 21She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ 22All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:How do you speak of grace at Christmas time? As I thought about grace - the experience of God looking at you seeing all your warts, flaws. failures and God loves you. God looks through all that has happened the good and bad, God knows you better than you know yourself and loves you.
23 ‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel’,
which means, ‘God is with us.’ 24When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, 25but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25
In the Christmas story found in Matthew, depending on my mood upon reading the story I experience God's grace. Joseph has been placed in a very uncomfortable position. The woman he is to marry, is pregnant and he is not the father. As he struggles with what to do, he decides to break off the engagement but to do so quietly so that Mary will not be publicly shamed. Then Joseph is visited by an angel in a dream. Joseph is told that the baby is blessed by God and will be God is with us. Joseph who was set to think ill of Mary because she was unwed and pregnant is invited to see Mary through God's eyes. God sees Mary with the eyes of love and grace and shares that love and grace with Joseph showing him a new way to look at the world. A world where God is with us and grace is offered to us despite our flaws and failings.
Away in a Manger/Amazing Grace