Q. I home school and each year our home school co-op puts on a Christmas play. The play this year has a theme about the real meaning of Christmas. It’s done in a modern stance with the children playing reporters and such. It has a part about Jesus’ birth. The play director lists that Joseph and Mary were engaged when they went to the Inn. I have always thought that Mary and Joseph were married when Jesus was born as Joseph calls Mary his wife in Matthew 1:24. But one of the mothers insists that they were still engaged because under the Jewish traditions a couple was not considered married until after the union was consummated. Which is right?
A. While your friend is correct in her view of Jewish tradition, the Bible clearly says that Joseph took Mary home as his wife. (Matt. 1:24) Had he not done so, Mary could have been charged with fornication and condemned to death. This verse also tells us they were living together under one roof, something that their traditions wouldn’t have allowed if they were only engaged. Many things were unique about Joseph and Mary’s marriage. The fact that they delayed consummating it until after the Lord was born was just one of them.