The Weekly Breather: Where is Joseph?
Settle Yourself: Release
The days leading to Christmas can be lots of fun but also exhausting. Take time let go and remember the real meaning of Christmas.
When our grandson Shane was around three years, he began to experience Christmas in a new way. Across the street from his house a family had placed a manger scene. It became Shane’s thing to name everyone in the scene every time the family backed the car out of the driveway. His parents would patiently idle the engine as he repeated, “Mary, Joseph, wise men, baby Jesus, shepherds, sheep.”
Christmas eve came and we arrived in town to spend Christmas with the family. So, as we headed out the driveway for Christmas eve service the same ritual occurred. Not a person or animals was left out.
At church that evening, we watched a traditional Christmas play, which included baby Jesus wrapped in cloth and lying in the manger, mother Mary looked down at him with adoring eyes, the sheep, shepherds and wise men playing their roles.
Yet, for Shane, something was missing. The church was quiet as we all took in the peaceful scene when suddenly Shane stood on his pew and shouted, “Where is Joseph?!?”
Listen: Rest in the Word
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matt. 1:20-21 NIV)
We tend to put more of an emphasis on Mary than on Joseph at Christmas. But take a moment and try to put yourself in Joseph’s shoes.
• What do you feel?
• What do you think?
• How would you have handled hearing that Mary was pregnant?
Joseph was obedient and faithful to Mary even in the midst of his confusion. He surely demonstrated the unconditional love of Christ. He can inspire us to love even when we don’t understand. He can challenge us to walk next to those who need our care and support. Joseph deserves a spot in all of our nativity scenes.
“Lord, help us to obey You! During confusion. When our story is full of questions. When the world seems to have gone haywire. When God’s plan looks so different from anything we ever imagined it would. Help us to authentically bring our questions to You, to be real with You, and then, even if we don’t hear a clear answer to the “I wonders”, to choose to obey You. We trust in the promise that You are with us!” Amen (Max Lucado)