Christmas Reflections: Timeless Truths for Today
The Right Person for the Job
But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Is there a person in your family who is the quiet glue? You know the person. Things wouldn’t get done if it weren’t for this person, or it wouldn’t feel right if they weren’t there. Perhaps this is the person that you need at a family gathering to keep the peace. They are the link that keeps everyone together.
Joseph could have easily been replaced by another man who traced his ancestry back to Abraham. Or he could have been left out of the situation entirely. And yet God chose Joseph to be Jesus’ earthly father—not because of his job or his social standing, but because of the kind of man he was. In many ways, Joseph would serve like that family glue, would be a steady presence, would provide just what Jesus and Mary needed. If it weren’t for Joseph, Jesus’ earthly family wouldn’t have been the same.
We don’t know much about Joseph, but what we do know points to a strong sense of honor, family, and integrity. He didn’t want to bring disgrace to Mary, the unwed mother. He was faithful and obviously knew the promise of a Savior. He kept the laws, both of Judaism and the Roman government.
After receiving a heavenly message and reassurance that he was the right man for Mary, we can only imagine the side eye looks he and Mary got once she began to show. There is nothing in the Bible that tells us they were shunned or mocked, but with the size of celebrations surrounding weddings, we could guess there would be some gossipy, vindictive people counting how many months until Jesus’ birth. Again, Joseph is the glue that held it together, getting Mary all the way to Bethlehem during her pregnancy, holding on to this promise of a Savior.
Much like Joseph, we can be the steady presence in our families, holding them together and keeping peace among relatives. With Joseph’s unwavering support, he and Mary built a life together. If we’re not the “gluey” one in our family, we can do our best to support those that are. Helping manage family feuds and hurt feelings isn’t an easy job. Those people probably take a lot of hurt on themselves before easing the path toward reconciliation. Joseph probably blocked Mary from a lot of hurtful comments.
If you ever notice paintings of the Nativity, especially those from the very early church, Joseph is rarely included. If he is in the painting, he’s crouched in a dark corner or standing outside of the stable. He might not be the main man in the story, but he certainly served an important part: providing shelter, care, safety, and even love for the Savior of our salvation.
Beyond the early years of Jesus’ life, we don’t know much more about Joseph. But what we do know gives us a good example of how we can trust in God’s will and timing in our lives to strengthen our families and make way for whatever God has for us.
Dear Lord, please use me as an instrument to build up my family and support others who do their best to strengthen others. Even when I don’t understand my role and struggle as Joseph did, help me understand that you have a plan for my life—big or small. Amen.
Written by Jen Wolf
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry