Mary certainly never expected an angel to show up on her doorstep with news that she, a Jewish peasant girl, would become the Mother of God. Likewise, Joseph certainly wasn’t planning on receiving news that his fiancé was pregnant with God’s Son but that he should proceed with his plans to marry her. God was on the move in our world and this young Jewish couple was swept up in events beyond their control. The only choice they had was whether they would accept what God was bringing them—or resist it. (And really, isn’t that the choice you and I face every single day as circumstances come our way?) What we know of Mary & Joseph suggests that they were prepared to receive what came their way because they had been walking with God their entire lives. Even though the story seemed impossible to believe, they were somehow able to see that nothing will be impossible with God and receive what came to them. Mary’s response to the angel says it all: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” —Luke 1:38a.
Think about what it was like on that unplanned journey God took Mary & Joseph on from Nazareth to Bethlehem… and ultimately to Egypt and back home. Did they ever wonder, as my wife and I have many times on our own unplanned journey these past few months: Where are you in all of this God? I can’t believe we have to take this trip now? Aren’t you aware of our situation? Isn’t being pregnant with your Son enough, why add a long trip to the equation? Isn’t this “piling on” a bit?!
And Joseph must have asked a lot of questions too. Despite the angel’s assurance [Matthew 1:18-25], don’t you think there must have been times when Joseph doubted his wife’s story about how she came to be pregnant—even if just for a moment? Might he have wondered along the way if it really would have been easier to simply do what he planned to do in the first place—divorce Mary quietly and be done with it?