Joseph’s Christmas Present to Mary…and to Himself
Joseph often gets sort of lost in the Christmas story. I suppose most dads get sort of lost in the “birth narrative”. All of my children are adopted so I’ve never had the privilege of seeing a child born or being with my wife as a child was born…but I think I’ve spoken to enough men about the process to know that it is definitely “not about them”. So it is with Joseph. He sort of gets lost in the shuffle of stars and shepherds and wise men and of course, Mary. Yet Joseph really shines in the Christmas story and his best moment comes in the passage below from Matthew chapter 1:
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
In this passage Joseph shines as bright as any star that shone on Christmas near the manger. First, an angel appears to Joseph and gives him some pretty amazing news; news that would be difficult for any one to believe. And please don’t think that the fact that the words came from an angel made it any easier. The angel soon left and Joseph had to deal with the ramifications of his words. Joseph had to deal with the gossip that his acceptance of Mary brought his way. Joseph had to deal with the temporary suspension of his “man card” in the eyes of all of his friends and relatives. (Of course, this is my opinion. The reaction of Joseph’s friends are not listed in the Bible.) Yet Joseph did it. We have no record of Joseph wrangling with the angel or doubting what the angel said. He just did it. Even without the encouragement of Nike, he just did it!
Joseph’s Christmas present to Mary was to support her during this time, a time that I think was pretty difficult for both of them. His Christmas present to Himself, and even to Jesus, was his obedience. By doing what the angel told him to do, he put himself squarely in the middle of God’s activity. That’s a great present for any of us to give or to receive.