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Nine Lessons for Christmas


2.     Joseph’s Decision

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.


Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.  


When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, 

but before they lived together,

she was found with child through the holy Spirit.


Joseph her husband,

since he was a righteous man, 

yet unwilling to expose her to shame,

decided to divorce her quietly.


                MT 1:18-19




Lesson 2


Joseph was unwilling to make life difficult for Mary


Betrothal was the first part of the marriage, constituting a man and woman as husband and wife.  Subsequent infidelity was considered adultery.  The betrothal was followed some months later by the husband’s taking his wife into his home, at which time normal married life began.


According to the Book of Deuteronomy, the penalty for proved adultery was death by stoning. 


As a devout observer of the Mosaic law, Joseph would have wished to break his union with someone he suspected of gross violation of the law.  Although Mosaic law does not clearly pertain to Joseph’s situation, it is commonly said that the law required him to do so.


The virginal conception of Jesus is the work of the Spirit of God.




Jesus, thank you for sharing the message of love.  Help me to reflect your love with my family, friends, and the people I meet.