Strong, Humble, and Quiet Faith
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 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.” When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son.
Where do you put Joseph when you set up your nativity scene?
At our house, Joseph always stands slightly behind Mary, gazing at the Christ-Child. He is much less eye-catching than the Wise Men (who, by the way, don’t really belong there since they arrived sometime after Jesus’ birth). In fact, he almost blends in with the shepherds and stable animals.
But Matthew gives us a clear and very distinct picture of Joseph. We meet him in the midst of a heart-wrenching situation. And as we get a glimpse of Joseph’s heart, we see a man of faith.
Joseph’s intention to divorce Mary quietly is meant to spare her the disgrace and aftermath of unfaithfulness. Assuming their marriage vows had been broken, Joseph moved to bring the matter to an end—without accusations or publicity.
Then God intervened.
The angel calmed Joseph’s fears and assured him Mary was still pure. He was chosen as Jesus’ earthly father and Joseph willingly responded in a demonstration of strong faith, humble willingness, and continued obedience. This godly man is an encouragement and faithful example for us even today.
We watch Joseph follow God’s commands and see how faithfully God led and blessed him. We grasp a small glimpse of what it means to glorify God and live as part of his family. We see how God works in the life of Joseph, and delight watching this courageous believer listen to God’s Word and trust its promises. Joseph doesn’t just teach us about following Jesus—he teaches us how much we need Jesus as our Savior!
It is humbling for us to remember that God appoints redeemed sinners to do amazing tasks—many of which look like simple, daily living. And this is where we can follow Joseph’s pattern with our gaze fixed on the Savior hour by hour. Joseph served God by raising Jesus. Too often we are tempted to think that being spiritually strong means standing out or leading loudly. But we can do it quietly and faithfully in our homes. What a blessing when a home has a strong spiritual leader that guides and teaches those he loves! But there are loving, Christian homes without a “Joseph.” Christ is present in homes where there is faith! Each one of us has the Christ-child, not to put out in our nativity set—but to save our souls! The Lord Jesus lives as an ever-present strength in our hearts and homes. We can all live in daily, thankful obedience for the gift of grace—just like Joseph.
Whatever your home looks like, or wherever Joseph stands in your nativity scene, focus on the Christ-child. He is the One who came to forgive your sins and draw you to himself in Word and sacrament. Gaze on his holiness to guide your daily living.
Lord God, thank you for the quiet faithfulness and strong leadership of Joseph. Strengthen us to follow his example with a clear focus on Christ our Savior. Open our ears to hear and follow you that we may glorify you in holy living that serves your kingdom. Amen.
Written by Naomi Schmidt
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry