“This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:18-19 NIV
Did you realize that even before Paul spoke about the fruits of the spirit to the Galatians, that Joseph and Mary both exhibited fruits of the spirit? Perhaps this was one of the reasons that God chose them to be the parents to Jesus.
In the Matthew passage above, we see Joseph’s kindness at wanting to divorce Mary quietly. In today’s society, we don’t do many things quietly anymore. We shout it for all to hear on Facebook, Twitter and post pictures about what we eat, how we sleep, whom we marry, what new outfit we’ve acquired and who has done us wrong. But Joseph knew that divorcing Mary publicly would disgrace her, perhaps even cause her to be stoned or killed. And his kindness for her, for her well-being, outweighed his own possible disgrace.
Do we consider kindness when opening our mouths or typing out those next words? Do we consider how what we say and do affects the lives of others? So often, I think not. But think about this: If Joseph had chosen to NOT divorce Mary quietly, if he had chosen, instead, to shout her pregnancy to the rooftops (their form of social media), or if he had been righteous in his own ways (not God’s) – perhaps Jesus would have never been born.
With just a little bit of kindness, Joseph furthered the story of Jesus and his eventual death, resurrection and salvation for us all.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 NIV
I pray you will consider how to show a bit of kindness (and other fruits of the spirit) today as we walk together through this Christmas season. Let the story of Jesus’ birth remind us not only about the salvation we can all take part in, but also how we can continue to contribute to the salvation of others today.