After making fun of the “Mary, did you know song” last week, I got quite a bit of grief. I realize that as a man – I will never understand what a woman goes through as she carries her child. Truth be known, I’m quite thankful for that.
However, the conversation got me thinking about how often Joseph is kinda forgotten about in the Christmas story. Sure, we give him some props in that he didn’t divorce Mary and stayed with her but it’s not like he got his own song – like Mary did or the shepherds or even the three wise men. Heck – a little drummer boy WHO WASN’T EVEN THERE has his own song.
But no song for Joseph.
I guess that is just as well.
Here’s what we do know about Joseph. He was a righteous, meek man. He was a gracious man. Don’t read this to mean that he was weak. Far from that – he just wanted to live life quietly, be a good husband and father. How do we know this? He did not want to humiliate Mary even though her getting pregnant before marriage and not with him was probably the most humiliating thing a man could suffer in that time.
He wasn’t out for revenge or justice with Mary. He just wanted to minimize the damage as much as he could. When the angel explained it to him – that is all he needed. He didn’t need public vindication.
We know that he was not afraid of hard work or hard circumstances. Think about it – take a wife whose child isn’t yours. Move to Bethlehem right before the birth. Move to Egypt when Herod tries to kill Jesus. Move back to Nazareth where all the rumors about Jesus and Mary could possibly be. Agree to be the earthly father of the son of God.
We know that Joseph was a deeply spiritual person. He took his family to Passover at the Temple every year. He didn’t HAVE to do this. He chose to do this. He took his family to places where they could encounter God – to have spiritual marker moments.
Do you realize that God picked Joseph to be Jesus’ dad just as much as he chose Mary to be his mother? And I think Jesus learned more than just carpentry skills from Joseph. Yes – Jesus was always and will always be God – but the scriptures tell us that even Jesus had to learn and increase in wisdom and knowledge. In other words – he was fully human as well.
And Joseph – even though he gets forgotten by us – was not forgotten by God. Joseph was God’s choice for the job.
Dads – Christmas is a great time for you to “get back in the game” if you’ve been out of it this year. It’s a great time to re-engage your kids and be the spiritual example and influence God wants you to be.
And I can’t think of two greater places to start that being a man that focuses on grace and puts his family in places to encounter God.