Joseph’s Dream

The First Christmas RGB14Joseph had made up his mind not to marry his pregnant fiancée Mary. He would divorce her quietly. (See Matthew 1:18-19) But God’s hand was on Joseph and Mary and the baby she carried. Joseph went to sleep thinking about what he would do when God sent an angel to speak to him in a dream.

Read about it in Matthew 1:20-24. The angel told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and assured him that her baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was told to name the baby Jesus because he would save people from their sins.

The writer of Matthew also tells us that Isaiah foretold this hundreds of years earlier when he wrote that a virgin would have a son and the people would call him Immanuel which means “God is with us.”

Joseph believed the angel’s message and took Mary as his wife, but he did not have sexual relations with her until after baby Jesus was born.

One must admire Joseph’s courage. People would surely draw their own conclusions about what might have happened between him and Mary concerning their first child, but he would stand by her and her baby.

Click here to see a video on YouVersion about Joseph’s dream.

For younger children The First Christmas, by Janice D. Green, illustrated by Violet Vandor. Front cover RGB (300)

Mary returns to Nazareth

The First Christmas RGB12Luke 1:56 states it simply, “Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.” We are left to our imaginations to get an idea of what might have been running through Mary’s mind on the long trip home.

She was likely traveling with strangers or people she didn’t know well – whoever might be traveling to Nazareth at the time. She had been staying with her elderly pregnant cousin for three months, sheltered from prying eyes, from people who knew she was engaged but not married. As a young teenager, her pregnancy was probably becoming obvious. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to be aware of the kinds of questions people might ask her simply making polite conversation on the way to Nazareth. When is your baby due? Who is your husband? Did she answer that she wasn’t married yet?

Even if no one pressed her with questions, she had plenty to think about on the long journey home. What would Joseph say when he saw her and realized she was pregnant? What would all her friends and relatives say and think? Would they believe her if she said she was carrying God’s baby? What would she tell them?

When she finally arrived in Nazareth she had to face the people she knew, and she surely felt their stares and whispers. Joseph was not pleased. We can read what Joseph wanted to do in Matthew 1:18-19. At least he wasn’t planning to have her stoned, though he could have done that. Joseph decided to divorce her quietly.

Divorce sounds odd to us because Joseph and Mary weren’t yet married. But in the Jewish culture of that time, the legal commitment had already been made and a divorce would be needed to break it.

We have to admire Mary’s courage. Mary had to cling ever so tightly to the words the angel Gabriel had said to her: “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!” Luke 1:30 (NLT)

For younger children The First Christmas, by Janice D. Green, illustrated by Violet Vandor. Front cover RGB (300)


The first Christmas – series of posts

Front cover RGB (300)You are invited to follow the posts that tell the events leading up to and following the birth of Christ here on this blog. The posts are spaced a few days apart to help develop the feel of advent as well as to give the message time to settle on our hearts a little at a time as we re-experience the wonder of the birth of Jesus the Christ. A few posts are already up, so you may want to click here to find the first post. All posts are short so it won’t take long to catch up. Continue through the posts by clicking on the next title at the top of the post on the right (or the previous post title at the top left). Some of the posts will publish closer together beginning on Dec 23, to help re-enforce the moment-by-moment events in the Bible. To catch each post when it first come out, you may find it helpful to subscribe to the blog through your email using the sign-up window at the right.

Most of the illustrations come from the children’s book The First Christmas by Janice D. Green and illustrated by Violet Vandor. These posts are written with older children and teens in mind and include additional information that was omitted from the children’s book. These extra pages may have other illustrations or may go unillustrated.