National Association of Marriage Enhancement

3 Marriage Lessons from the Christmas Story

There is so much depth in the Bible and in the Nativity story. There are truths within truths in many places, and if, occasionally, the reader shifts perspectives while reading the Holy Spirit may reveal these deep truths in unexpected places. Today, we would like you to look at the story of Christmas from the perspective of Joseph and Mary’s marriage.

If you have not yet read the Christmas story this year, we highly encourage you to. Read it many times—different verses and phrases will pop out to you different times. For our purposes, this blog will be focused out of Matthew 1 & 2.

Lesson #1:
Joseph was honorable and practiced the principle of the covering.

“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.” (Matt 1:18b-19)

At this point in the story, Joseph was engaged to Mary, he had not laid with her and he was skeptical of the Holy Spirit impregnation. Yet, his reaction was worth noting: “he did not want to expose her to public disgrace.” Joseph was covering his betrothed, protecting her from ridicule and possibly stoning. At this point, if Joseph was not sold on the Holy Spirit conception, he must have believed Mary was lying and of course, naturally, would feel hurt and betrayed, but he still decided to act honorably without shaming her. How often do we want to shame the other person in marriage? Covering our spouse does not feel like the natural fleshly reaction that we want to have when we have been wronged. Often we start dividing and creating sides among friends and family, or for some even facebook followers. Even though we are all sinful people, something inside us loves to oust another person that we believe has a bigger issue of sin. We could all learn a lesson from Joseph. When your spouse is under scrutiny and accusations from others, you should not join the scrutinizers and accusers.  Act in grace.

Lesson #2: 
Joseph led Mary and his family as the spiritual leader of their home.

We do not know a lot about Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, but we do know that he was appeared to four times in dreams (Matt 1:20, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22). Before Christ made atonement and the veil was torn in the temple, often in Old Testament history angels would appear in dreams and visions to some of the prophets and patriarchs of the faith. Joseph was appeared to four times in dreams, and he listened and led his family in what the Lord said each time. Mary also had a strong relationship with the Lord (we know this because an angel of the Lord appeared to her as well and her reaction was humble submission and singing praises to Him); however, regardless of her strong spiritual walk as well, she listened to her husband when her husband was leading her on the path the Lord instructed for them. They are a great example of what an empowered Christian marriage should look like.

Lesson #3:
They followed the Lord’s leading when encountering various trials.

This one is similar to the one above, but it is a bit different. There were many in the Bible who were told by God what to do, but they didn’t do it or they did it a different way. Remember when Moses struck the rock, rather than speaking to it. Joseph and Mary followed the commands of the Lord—even the difficult ones, such as going into the foreign land of Egypt to keep their child safe from King Herod who wanted to kill the child (Matt 2:13-19). They trusted in the Lord and did not lean on their own understanding. They believed God’s plan was the best plan and did not veer off track with bright ideas of their own. Often, in marriage, both people are not on the same page spiritually; sometimes, this is because one is deciding that their own idea is better than the Lord’s idea. The best marriages are those who are seeking out God’s way of doing things all the time, in every situation. The best marriages do not offer alternatives to God’s way of doing things as equal or better than His plan.

Hopefully you received some insight in this little Christmas marriage devotional. Remember reading the Bible is not a one or two time accomplishment. Just because you have read a story 2, 3, or 5 times does not mean that the Holy Spirit is done revealing truths to you. Blessings in your Bible reading and a merry Christmas to you!

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