Let There Be Joy - Day 9

Disappointment and Heartache

Engagement is one of the very happiest and dreamiest of times in the life of a young couple.  It is the singular moment in life when all hours are spent dreaming of the incomparable joy that is to come.  It is the extraordinary moment in one’s life when love seems perfect and trustworthy.

“Joseph, I am with child.”

Joseph and Mary’s love story had been horribly and unexplainably interrupted.  Mary is pregnant and Joseph knows that he is not the father.  Joseph surely must have wondered if Mary had been violated although she was quietly insistent that the child in her womb had been placed there by the Holy Spirit.  I wonder if Mary told him with tears running down her beautiful and innocent cheeks.

Did Joseph wonder if Mary was delusional?  How else was it possible to explain this catastrophic turn of events?  What was once lovely was now tinged with ugly.  What was once anticipated is now dreaded.

Joseph was a righteous man whose pure heart was breaking because his bride was with child and it was not his child.  Mary, his lovely and sweet Mary, had surely been taken advantage of by someone.  She was the kindest girl he had ever known but was the stress of the planning the wedding causing her to break under the pressure?  What could he do?  What should he do?!

Joseph apparently did not believe Mary’s story because his plan was to put her away privately.  This was the kindest and most loving choice for a young man found in the throes of betrayal.  He could have allowed her to be stoned before the baby was born.  Or, after giving birth, he could have allowed both her and the baby to be stoned.  Sending her away never to be heard from again was the ultimate loving sacrifice on Joseph’s part.

It is impossible to even imagine Joseph’s disappointment with God and with the person whom he had loved the most in the world.  Mary had been his world and now he would never see her again.  Did Joseph believe that the girl of his dreams had given her virginity to another man?

Joseph did not deserve this betrayal or this heartbreak.  What he “deserved” was a wedding day filled with joy and the promise of young love.

Now, perhaps, Joseph’s reputation had been sullied on the streets of Nazareth and his boyhood friends were snickering behind his back. 

Joseph had to face Mary’s parents and his own parents. Although he bore no guilt there was still the possibility that they would not believe him.  There was no nuptial frivolity for this disappointed, heartbroken young man.  All hopes of love and joy and promise had been dashed with the announcement of an early pregnancy.

Are you facing severe disappointment as you face Christmas this year?  My prayer for you is that you will allow the promise of Christmas to overshadow the painful realities of your life.  Do not allow Christmas to be defined by your disappointment but allow your disappointment to be forever changed because of the promise of Christmas.

Bible Reading: (click on Scripture reference to open in reader)

Matthew 1:18 & 19

Romans 5:1-5

Let There Be Joy In Me:

What is the most difficult disappointment that you have ever faced?  Does Christmas help ease the pain of disappointment or does it exacerbate it?

How does Romans 5:1-5 encourage you?

HDonateello, World!

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