joseph. he takes a lesser part in this christmas drama. mary's role is front and center, and her faith has brought her much admiration. even though joseph is somewhat in the shadows, his character is also worthy of note.
imagine, if you can, that the woman you are pledged to marry has just revealed that she is expecting a baby...and it is not yours. devastating. all of your plans for the future seem to come crashing down around you. you trusted her and you loved her, and now she has seemingly betrayed you. keep in mind that at this time in history, this would have been an offense punishable by stoning.
hurt. angry. confused. in spite of what his emotions must have been, he just can not bring himself to make a claim against her. scripture tells us that he "did not want to expose her to public disgrace" but rather "had in mind to divorce her quietly." worldly wisdom calls for revenge to satisfy our wounded hearts, but we learn that joseph is kind and noble, caring more for mary's safety than his own pride.
and who could blame him for wanting out? by all appearances, mary had not been faithful. it is only after an angel came to him in a dream that he made his decision:
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." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" - which means, "God with us."
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife."
joseph, like his bride mary, is obedient to the Lord. he married mary without regard to public opinion or ridicule that they were sure to face. he believed God and was willing to take up a task which was intimidating to say the least: to be the foster father to the Son of the Living God. wow.
scripture says that joseph was a righteous man in matthew 1:19. how can i live a righteous life? well, if i follow joseph's example, i need to believe God and obey Him, no matter how difficult the task may seem. and live a life which puts the needs of others ahead of my own, showing kindness and love. joseph was a noble man of the highest character.
Lord, give me the kindness of joseph, give me a righteous love which is expressed in putting others first.
everyday gift: joseph's example of kindness and love.