Are there any strong silent people in your life? These people say very little. At times, they seem almost invisible except for an occasional moment. I believe Joseph may have been such a man.
“And Joseph, her(Mary) husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1: 18-25 NAS)
We have looked at the several of the lives in the Christmas story this month. We have seen the hope of Israel from Zacharias, Simeon, Anna, Elizabeth, Mary, the shepherds and the angels. We have seen the joy of each person and how one little baby impacted the world. We have seen fear, anxiety and amazing comfort come to each person as they fulfill the role God had given them.
Today, we want to see Joseph’s story. Not one word is recorded in scripture that Joseph ever said! We are told that he is a righteous man. We know he knew Jewish law because he knew what would happen to Mary if anyone found that she was pregnant. He must have been like most men, a processor. He had to process what Mary was telling him. He must have spent hours in anguish going through scenarios of what he should do, could do, or would do. I see Joseph as a young but mature man who is looking so forward to his new life and now is thrown a curve that changes his view of his life forever. We never know the twists and turns in life that can come fast and furious like a tornado that picks us up and spins us and sets us down in new and unrecognizable places. We are stunned, angry, disoriented and terrified at what might be next. Joseph must have felt that way.
When the dust settled and Joseph had made his decision, he moved forward without looking back. He took Mary to be his wife. He protected her. He covered her with grace instead of shame. He took the child to raise as his own. He taught Jesus the skills he knew, carpentry.
He gave him a home. He lived out his faith before Jesus.
I have had a quiet, background, processing man in my life for 50 years. Sometimes it is very frustrating but he has loved me, protected me and shared his life with me. Life was hard for Joseph and Mary. The times and the cultures were hard, difficult and I am sure scary with the Romans always breathing terror. But God! God protected them as he does us. God guided them, he directed them to the right places and he provided for them.
The very Son of God who had given up all the riches of heaven was living in their home! Yet they experience sorrow, suffering, pain, fear as well as exceeding great joy. What joy must have been in their hearts as they watched Jesus grow up. Knowing all the time, they had been given the privilege and responsibility to raise this child. The child who sits at His Father’s right hand even today is interceding for us.
Scripture says Mary treasured all these things in her heart. It never mentions Joseph heart. I just know in my heart that Joseph treasured and pondered many things in his heart also. He might have been a background man, quiet, gracious, loving and strong but I believe Joseph accomplished a life well lived and in the kingdom of God. I like to believe Joseph holds a special place beside the son he raised.
We may never realize the influence we have in the lives of those around us. So many times we are wrapped up in the fast paced life we live that we forget there are background people, invisible maybe to us at times but never to the eye of our loving heavenly father and His Son who gave His life that we might have eternal life.
Look around today and find those who quietly stay in the background supporting and loving others. It is the season for loving and giving. If you have a Joseph in your life, let them know you see them. Michael Card’s song “Joseph’s Song” is a beautiful reminder of what Joseph’s thoughts might have been.
Michael Card Joseph’s Song