This week I'll be preaching on the story from Matthew 1:18-25. The lessons for the day can be found here.
Though many lectionary texts have common themes, and some seem to be randomly thrown together, it's reasonable to suspect that these particular lessons were intentionally put together for a reason. Isaiah's verses are referenced as being fulfilled in Matthew, and Paul's recollection of Jesus' life seems to affirm the story foretold by the angel. Essentially, both lessons point to the Gospel reading.
I wonder about the possible portrayal of Joseph as an advocate who does what is right regardless of the social stigmas of the day. There is a large emphasis on doing what is correct according to the law and what is acceptable according to society (today as well as in the Scripture reading). Most commentaries I've looked at have paid close attention to the laws and expectations of what a man was to do in ancient Israel if his betrothed was found to be pregnant. Not surprisingly, death by stoning and/or divorce are at the top of the list.
In our current culture of fear (fear of being hurt/attacked nationally, fear of losing our lifestyle, fear of 'the other' or unfamiliar, fear of disappointing those whose opinions we value, etc.), the angel says, "Do not be afraid!" I wonder what that means for us today.