Joseph is significant in our family. It’s the name of our elder son and the role our grandson performed in his first school nativity play. Although he did have to share the part with seven others, but who’s counting? 😉 The dressing up, singing and speaking fun was still his to savour.
I’ve been thinking about how Mary’s betrothed husband, Joseph, reacted when she became pregnant with a child that wasn’t his. Because sometimes we’re apt to overlook him a bit in favour of the other starry players in God’s real-life Nativity. However, Joseph is crucial to the plot.
How Joseph becomes reconciled to his role
We meet him as a bewildered man, wondering just what to believe about his sweet fiancée’s sudden pregnancy. Has she been unfaithful? Can he trust her now?
Thankfully, with angelic intervention, the wonder and glorious truth of it all soon gets through to him. As a result, he steps up courageously to the task of protecting and supporting Mary and raising Jesus.
“Then Joseph, her fiancé, being a man of stern principle, decided to break the engagement but to do it quietly, as he didn’t want to publicly disgrace her. As he lay awake considering this, he fell into a dream, and saw an angel standing beside him. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘don’t hesitate to take Mary as your wife! For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit.'” – Matthew 1:19-20 (TLB)
*the image above is of Christ in the house of His parents by John Everett Millais. Full details can be found here*
The story of Joseph
Descended from David’s line,
a royal lineage,
and yet you wear your heritage
in a humble carpenter’s flesh.
Born to be comforting birthing
partner, devoted husband, parent
and father to a supremely
who is not your own.
Reluctant at first to marry
betrothed one, because
of confusion and doubt about
where her pregnancy stemmed from.
An angelic visitation
to stay faithful
to your promises to her,
while God kept his own
to his son and to the world.
You kept a low profile
as you helped bring up
this treasured child, giving him
a trade, a family, loving care
and an ordinary life.
It is your very ordinariness
that gives us hope
we too might be recipients
of God’s grace, his secure
promises, his mercy and his love.
The hope Joseph’s story gives to us
We’re apt to forget how very vulnerable, ordinary and humble the major protagonists are in this amazing story. And how awed and overcome they must have felt at first, then as they brought the Messiah up to manhood.
This gives us hope we are seen, loved and paid attention to by God. We’re not invisible to Him. Our lives count for something. Often far more than we may know. We are destined for a holy purpose too, be it large or small.
My friend, do you ever feel like a bit part actor in life? Maybe you feel too ordinary to make a difference. Do not lose heart. Allow me to encourage you today with Joseph’s story.
“There is nothing tangential about Joseph’s part in the birth of Jesus: it has been prepared for in God’s long plans just as much as Mary’s. Let that be a comfort to those of us who feel we are always asked to play the minor parts.” – The Art of Advent: A Painting a Day from Advent to Epiphany by Jane Williams
Although he didn’t seek attention, it found him. Right smack in the middle of his ordinary, faithful life, God set Joseph apart to be an earthly father to Christ. He knew just when Joseph would be ready, willing and able to say yes to His plans.
In the year ahead, may we be prepared for God to whisper His purposes to us. May we seek God’s will with hope and expectation in our hearts, as He calls us to do small or great things, enabled by His love and grace.
Currently, my part is to pause and take a needful rest break here. I look forward to catching up with you again in January, when I will be sharing my God-given word for 2019. 😊
💜🌟🌲 Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you! 🎄🌟💜
May God bless and keep you in His tender care and give you
His rest, joy and peace until we meet again.