So often when we think of Christmas, all of the focus is upon Jesus and rightly so. Next in line is Mary, but very few take much notice of Joseph.
As I was reading through Mathew 1, however, I realized what a difficult situation Joseph, too, was placed in. As I stated in Mary’s Response, I’m sure that life after the news was anything but easy. And I’m sure the gossip spread like wildfire.
Can you imagine what Joseph must have thought when he heard that Mary was with child? He must have been disappointed, afraid and maybe a bit angry. For the Bible tells us that he had in mind to put her away.
Now to better understand the culture, we must take a look at the significance of a betrothal. Most likely this was an arranged marriage. I’m almost positive Joseph was older than Mary, and they knew very little about one another other than what their parents may have told them. Once a couple was betrothed in the Bible times, this betrothal would usually last for about one year. During this time, the husband would work to build and establish a home. While the bride to be would work to prepare the things that would go into the home. At the end of the year, the groom would come for his bride. The bride had to be ready and waiting for her groom to appear.
Yet, for Mary and Joseph, none of this turned out as they planned. While Joseph was busy working to prepare the home, an angel comes to him to tell him that Mary is with child. Now,remember, Joseph probably knew very little bout Mary. So now he is supposed to believe that this child is from God. Yet, the Bible tells us that this is exactly what he did. He believed.
He didn’t put her away, he took her as his bride and remained separate from her until Jesus was born. Though I’m sure many speculated on their marriage and the baby. Though they probably were doubted and questioned by many including their family and friends. They believed God.
Suddenly, Ceaser issues a decree that everyone had to be counted. Now, Joseph must take his pregnant wife to Bethlehem. I’m sure this was not in his plans. But, they went. When they arrive, Joseph searched everywhere to find a room for him and his wife. He knew how tired she was and how uncomfortable. Yet, he could find nothing. Hanging his head, he brought his wife to a stable, because there was no room for them in the inn.
After Jesus was born, Joseph had another dream, warning him to go home a different way because King Herod wanted Jesus dead. So Joseph and Mary settled and lived in Nazareth.
As I read through the Christmas story with Joseph in mind, I was struck by his unfailing trust and belief in the Lord. Though he could have questioned, could have doubted. He did not. Instead He just believed. He walked so close with the Lord, that He knew what he must do.
The Scriptures tell us very little about Joseph after the birth of Christ. We know he was a Carpenter and we know that he and Mary went on to have many other children. Yet, Joseph is not mentioned any further. By the time of the crucifixion, we know that Joseph has passed away. For it was only Mary who stood and watched as Jesus died for our sins.
It seems the life of Joseph was obscure. He is not exalted as being anyone special. Yet, I believe He was special in the eyes of the Lord. For just as Mary was chosen of God to be the mother of Jesus. Joseph was chosen to walk with and raise Jesus up.
Though the Bible tells us very little about Joseph, we know He was a man of great faith. For He trusted and believed God. He walked with the Lord and enjoyed fellowship with him.
Somedays, it is easy to think that our lives don’t count. That we aren’t anyone special. We get stuck in the mundane and feel insignificant.
Yet the truth is, we are special in the eyes of the Lord. He sees and knows everything we do. Nothing we do is insignificant. For when we live for and do all things as unto the Lord, He is pleased. When we trust and believe him, though others question us and though we don’t understand, He is honored as Lord.
Joseph like Mary was no one special. He was not some grand king or from a great family line. He was a simple carpenter. Who worked with his hands and sought to daily provide for his growing family. I’m sure there were many days he wondered at God’s plans and purposes for Him. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, he was significant.
And in the same way, we too are significant.
This Christmas, let us not lose sight of the little things. Christ could have been born in a grand palace. He could have been born into a royal family. But he was not. He was born in a stable and placed in a manger. It was mere shepherds who were told of his birth and visited him at the stable. (Yes, sorry the wise men were not there, they came to his house probably a year or so later).
Yet, in the eyes of God, this was the night that changed the course of history. The night when God took on flesh and dwelt among us. Setting into action the plans for redemption that God had established from the foundation of the world.
Just a little night in Bethlehem… Just a simple young girl…. Just a Carpenter…. Just a few shepherds…
By no means, though simple and seemingly obscure, all of these things brought forth the Savior of the World.
I’m learning that Christmas is not about the fanfare. It isn’t about the lights, presents, food, family or songs. It is about Jesus and enjoying Him in the little things.
For He is there in the laughter of your child, the twinkle in your husband’s eyes. He’s there in the simple, daily task we must face each day.
Let us not miss Jesus this Christmas!!!