"Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." - Matthew 1:22-23
How lonely Joseph must have felt, not to mention Mary’s loneliness. God chose two lonely young people to use as a vehicle for the end of loneliness.
To be a virgin and conceive is an unparalleled experience. Conception always involves ensemble and grows out of a deep partnership. Mary’s only partnership in this conception was with the invisible God and it led to more isolation from humanity – even her betrothed.
Joseph was also isolated by this event. Intimate trust had, in his mind, been betrayed. He could not receive counsel because there were none who could understand his mixed emotions.
Out of this loneliness would come a new partnership between God and this young couple and out of His work and their commitment would come a new reality – the persistent and consistent presence of God among people: Emmanuel.
(24)Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
At some point, prior to or during this encounter, Joseph has fallen asleep. God often speaks to us in the loneliness of slumber, but it is when we are awakened that we reveal the power of the encounter. Joseph believed and received the word and his solitude ended. He obeyed God.
(25) And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Fulfillment involved restraint and rejection of superficial intimacy. The depths of what God was doing would require patient expectation. The honeymoon would wait because God had something marvelous in store for humanity through His Divine intervention in history and the commitment of two solitary youths, brought together by grace and empowered by the promise of the presence of God.
Are we as willing, as they were, to offer our lives to the purpose of Christmas, that the God of the Universe might be revealed to a lonely world? Are we willing to leave some of the gifts under the tree for a while that the Giver of all gifts might bestow the gift of His eternal presence in the temporal realm?
God is with us!