Christmas means the Christmas story. Oh how I love it. The baby Jesus. Young mother Mary. And you, stoic father Joseph. Oh yes, you, Joseph. We get so focused on Mary, baby Jesus, the shepherds, the angels and even the wise men. But who ever focuses on you? I do, that’s who.
I am in awe of you, Joseph, because you teach me about following God.
Let’s remember together. Your wife turned up pregnant. And you knew YOU didn’t cause this “little” issue because you two hadn’t consummated the marriage yet.
She clearly cheated on you, right?
And the law said you could cut your losses. Who could really blame you if you did? Even though a public spectacle could have been your choice, you had too much class to humiliate Mary like that. So you started making your plans to quietly divorce her.
God came to you in a dream and said the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He tells you to go ahead and marry her because this baby is going to save the world. Now, a lesser man might have made excuses and found a way to weasel out of it, because frankly, people were going to talk and your reputation was probably going to go down the tubes. But you, Joseph, chose to obey. You threw out your plans and adopted God’s. You laid your reputation on the line. You trusted what must have seemed like some crazy babble and kept this woman, Mary and God’s son, now your son, Jesus.
Who does that? You do. You did. Nothing was recorded about your arguing your case. Nothing was written about you hesitating to do what God told you to do. Just simple obedience. Only it wasn’t so simple.
Not only did you not divorce her, you didn’t even consummate the marriage until after the baby was born. I am guessing it was because, well that was God’s baby, sacred and holy. I think you put reverence ahead of your own physical wants and needs. Who does that? You do. You did.
And then you and your pregnant wife, traveled about 90 miles on a donkey to obey the government and register for the census. I am a woman. I have had some kids. I know how we can be at nine months pregnant on a good day. I just feel like that trip cost you something mentally and emotionally. And you paid it, willingly. Again I say, who does that? You do. You did.
And to just “add fuel to the fire” as we say sometimes. you couldn’t even find a place to stay and your wife was going into labor. I imagine that place that held the manger, which is just fancy talk for a horse’s feeding trough, wasn’t what you or Mary had envisioned for your first born, but you made do. I also imagine you had to help deliver God’s (and yours) son. I am thinking that is not how you planned to spend your day. But you did it.
Later, you entertained some shepherds, which, I am sure was also not on your agenda. But God sent them and you received them, because obedience is what you do. It’s what you did. And eight days after the shepherds had come for their visit, you took the baby, had him circumcised and gave Him the name Jesus. I bet you had another name picked out for the first child you and Mary welcomed into the world. But God had spoken and told you to name Him Jesus. And even in this, you laid down your plans, your hopes and your dreams and picked up God’s instead.
Who does that? You do. You did. And because of you, I know I can too.
Sincerely taught by your example,