Today we read in Matthew how the birth of Jesus came about (Matthew 1:18-25).  I think because the story is so simple we retell it in our minds as something extraordinary.  We never get from the author how much Joseph struggled with putting Mary away quietly.  I'm sure this was a lengthy contract, my understanding is it was a year before the wedding would take place once the original contract of betrothal was made.  When did the pregnancy become obvious during that time?  Did Mary tell Joseph or did Joseph just find out from the rumor mill in Nazareth?  What did Mary do once she knew Joseph might put her away?  This would sentence her to a life of poverty, being an outcast in the community.  Did she have faith that God would take care of the details, did she doubt, did she have anxiety? 

When we start to deal with those questions the characters come to life.  They are human and this is the truly amazing part.  God trusted humans, with little faith, with disbelief, with messy doubts, with nothing in this world to raise this Son.  Not a king, not a rich person, but simple everyday messy people.  God didn't doubt that things would somehow work out.  God didn't doubt that Joseph would do the right thing when the dream happened.  God didn't doubt that they would, in their poverty, protect and care for this child as if he was both their very own. 

This story displays God's steadfast love for all people.  Because very simply God loves us.  God trusts us. And somewhere in there that plants our own hope.  Happy Christmas - Immanuel has come to us.