The holidays can be difficult for many people who have suffered major loss and disappointment in their lives. Not everyone has a Holly Jolly Christmas.
Many people struggle with depression during the holiday season. So if you find yourself in an emotionally hard place, I want to encourage you that no matter how difficult our situation is, God is with you. Immanuel means, God is with us.
Joseph and Mary found themselves in an incredibly difficult situation. Mary was pregnant before marriage. Scandalous! What would everyone say? How would they be judged? And to top it off – she was still a virgin!
They didn’t have the benefit of seeing a Christmas play or reading the Christmas story in the gospels. They were making this up as they went – in real time. Hey, guys, how would you have handled this story from your fiancé?
Matthew 1:18-25 , “18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.”
Imagine the shock and confusion that Joseph must have experienced with this announcement. He was a good Jewish boy who had fallen in love with this perfect young girl. They have maintained the highest level of moral purity throughout their courtship.
Now she was pregnant and was telling him some story about an angel and the Holy Spirit. I wonder if Joseph listened patiently and then said firmly, “Mary, that’s NOT how it happens!”
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: 23 “Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.”
This miraculous conception meant that Jesus was conceived by God, not man. Joseph was his stepfather, but God was his Father. That’s why Jesus was not born with the original sin that is passed through the fatherly bloodline. So only Jesus could qualify to be the sinless sacrifice on the cross. He was holy in nature and in behavior. Jesus was the only sinless person who has ever lived.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”