Joseph had an expectation, a hope.
He was going to marry his beautiful young wife. Mary was perfect for him. A good Jewish girl who would not only help him in his business, but provide him with children who would be able to take it over.
They would have a great life together, he and Mary.
Until he noticed something. His fiancé seemed to be showing.
Now Joseph was an honorable man, and he knew he had been faithful to his commitments. His commitment to her and to purity. But it seemed on the outside that perhaps Mary had not been so faithful.
His expectation was shattered, his hopes were dashed.
Being a nice guy he thought instead of make a public spectacle of her shame (as he could have), he would just quietly send her away in order to preserve her dignity.
But then a dream. He discovered that in fact Mary had not been unfaithful, but that the child she carried was Immanuel, God with us. This child would be the promised rescuer of his people.
Joseph had a choice to make. Would he keep his previous hope and seek a new wife? He would have been justified in the faces of his community. Or would he let that hope go for the expectation that his life, his dreams would be dashed, but that he could have the much greater, yet more challenging hope of Immanuel?
Which would you choose?