“18Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and yet not willing to make her a public example, planned to send her away secretly. 20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
We’ve been told that the manger in the stable marked Christ’s humble beginning, but it started way before that, and it was way more humble an origin story than plain old being poor. By every social standard and from every angle, Mary’s pregnancy was an abomination – a freak of nature and a bastard outlaw. If all due ritual and law had been observed, the story might have ended here, because that bit about Joseph not wanting Mary to be made into a public example had a very specific meaning. Back in those days, the traditional, law-abiding, scriptures-backed way of dealing with an adulteress was death-by-stoning.
Jo wasn’t thrilled his fiancé got herself knocked up, but he was a nice guy – he didn’t want her to face public execution. So even though it went against what all the priests and laws and traditions had to say, he was ok with taking the middle road. He wasn’t going to marry her or condone her behavior, but he wasn’t going to stop her from living her life, either.
Then he went further. Based on the feeling of his own spirit and his own personal dream, Joseph decided he was more than ok with it – he was ready to fall in love with it. He shrugged off the stigma on his manhood, the shame of his family, the minus holy points for not observing the letter of the law, and he put his own sense of right and wrong and love above all else.
And you know what? Thanks to that selfish, pickin-and-choosin-what-doctrines-he-obeyed, shamelessly unorthodox guy, Jesus got to grow up with a mom and two dads, instead of being orphaned and/or aborted. Think of that the next time some self-appointed level-1000 religious expert tries to tell you what your family ought to look like.