The Names of Christmas: Joseph and Mary

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Luke 2: 18-21

Joseph, a just man

In verse 19, we find out why God chose Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly father. He was a just man. He was just the man God had in mind to raise his Son. So God tells Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife.” What does Joseph fear? For his reputation? For his business? For his personal relationships?

I wonder: How did Joseph find out? Was it a friend? Was it an enemy who came to him with the the news? Whether friend of foe,

Someone delivers the bad news.

Mary is with child.

Joseph can’t believe it. How could this happen? Everyone knew Mary’s reputation. She’s a woman of integrity and great character. But she is with child.

God delivers the good news.

And Joseph listens. The child is not his, but His. The baby is conceived of the Holy Spirit. God tells Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary to be his wife. They have a quick wedding and head to Bethlehem for the honeymoon.

And Mary delivers the Good News, Jesus!

The Names of Christmas.

The name Joseph descends from the Hebrew root yacaph, and it means to add, to increase. To add more and more. God is always in the business of adding more and more to His people. More righteousness, more grace, more love, and more blessing.

The name Mary also descends from the Hebrew root marah, and it means bitterness, rebellion, a rebellious house. I am not proposing a new doctrine, but perhaps Mary is a symbol of the rebellious nature of the people of Israel. And amid their rebellion and bitterness, God appears one silent night  to add more and more to the lives of His people by sending His only begotten Son. More grace, more love, more blessing. If you have bitterness in your heart, you need more and more Jesus.

God yacaph life to our marah by sending the King of Kings.

You see, God is redeeming us from our rebellion and bitterness.

Reflect: How is God adding more and more to your life this Christmas season? How does your life fit into the names of Christmas story this year? Please leave a comment down below. I’d love to chat with you!

Merry Christmas!

by Mary Kane

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