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.
Your words especially moved me here: “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.” God is so aware of every detail fitting together, and yet He is so patient with our own progress isn’t He? He wove together earthly lives to fulfill His Heavenly purpose, and He chose those ordinary moments in which to bring it all together. I am amazed, pondering these thoughts, as I look at my own life. I grow so impatient, watching my weary ways. And yet, God will step in, and indeed already is, to weave together His own dear purposes into my days. Thank you so much for these precious thoughts, Dear Friend. May you have a Joyful and Restful Christmas and New Year, My friend! Hugs & Love from across the pond! xoxo
Dear Bettie, it is a wonder, isn’t it? We often focus most on the knots and snarled threads and fail to see the beautiful tapestry God is weaving out of our lives. Our own ordinary moments are infused with His grace, yet pain, weariness or sheer indifference can steal away our awareness of it. I love your “And yet..” because it reminds me of “but God” and the mysterious power of His workings in our daily grind. They never cease to amaze us as we reflect on them. I pray your Christmas break will also be joyous and restful, with relief from pain. Thank you for your sweet response to this post and your kind, encouraging thoughts! Hugs and love returned to you across the pond! xoxo 💜
Thank you for these hope-filled reflections, Joy. I have thought, too, that Joseph’s role is sometimes overlooked, and yet God didn’t overlook him. He truly did have a special role, and God even lists him in the genealogy of Jesus. And what faith he needed to do what he did.
This especially spoke to me:
“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.”
It’s a comfort that we are never invisible to God but that we are loved and paid attention to by Him. I, too, am taking a break after today’s post. I hope you have a rest-filled break and a joy-filled Christmas remembering how much our Savior loves us!
Trudy, I’m glad those lines spoke to you and grateful this post encouraged you, my friend. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights about Joseph. It definitely is a comfort that “we are never invisible to God” and He includes ordinary people in His purposes and plans. I enjoyed your words about Mary. We have much to admire in her character and much to seek to emulate in her trust and faith. Enjoy your break! May you recover energy, health and strength. And may you feel as cherished, special and loved as you truly are to many. Christmas blessings of hope, joy and peace to you, dear sister across the pond! xo 😊💜🎄
The truth of your words and Joseph’s story slip quietly into my heart . . . and wait. Happy Christmas, sweet friend. You are always such an inspiration and blessing to me. Wishing you all JOY in 2019!
Dear June, I’m honoured at the thought of these words finding a home in your heart. And I’m delighted to have been a means of blessing you. It’s always a JOY to see you here, sweet friend! Especially on this Christmas Eve, when we wait with increasing hope, awe and anticipation in our hearts. Happy Christmas to you too! May 2019 be a year of greater health and strength, and renewed inspiration, joy and encouragement to share with others. Bless you for being here. xo 💜💟
Thank you, this really encouraged me.
You’re welcome, Vicki! I’m so pleased it spoke to you. It’s a blessing and joy to see you here, my friend! x 💜