It wasn’t as it should be.
Every year at this time, our family piles into the car to journey to Beck’s tree farm.
The boys take turns using the saw to cut down the perfect tree.
Once the tree topples down, my sons would drag it to the car and secure it on top.
Afterwards, we travel to Hot Dog Johnny’s to feast on hot dogs, fries and birch beer.
But this year looked different, as everything does.
Because my husband still did not feel well enough to join us, the boys and I decided to adjust our plans.
Instead, we purchased a pre-cut tree from our local fire department.
As the boys and I stood in line for take out, we fondly recalled the many memories we had performing our yearly ritual.
It wasn’t as it should be.
I’m pretty sure that this was Joseph’s thought when he found out Mary was pregnant.
They were to marry first, and then start a family.
Everything looked different than Joseph probably imagined.
“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. 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.” Matthew 1: 18-19 NLT
Can you even imagine being in Joseph’s shoes?
But God knew exactly who He wanted to be Jesus’s earthly father.
“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. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save His people from their sins.”
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“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.’”
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and
took Mary as his wife. Matthew 1: 20-24 NLT
The plan in Mary’s head probably did not come close to what our heavenly Father had in store for her as well.
But just like Joseph, God knew who He wanted to bring His son into this world.
“Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” Luke 1: 28-34 NLT
In a year that has brought things most of us could have never imagined, I am reminded of the unimaginable birth of our Savior.
I am encouraged by Joseph’s obedience and Mary’s trust in God.
The birth of our Savior could have looked very different.
Maybe He would have not been born to an unwed teeanger in a stable.
But gratefully, He was.
And it was exactly as it should be.
May this most unexpected story of His birth bring light and hope to your souls today.
We need it now more than ever.