Christmas Contribution

You know Joseph gets a pretty side-lined part in the whole nativity. Sure he is always posed in perfect reverence before the manger scene. Certainly in various artist depictions, he is shown walking in deference to his expectant wife upon the donkey. But if you get the part of Joseph in the Christmas pageant, you realize how precious little he contributes, on the surface anyways.

I am compelled to ponder Joseph’s part from the very beginning, because while he doesn’t get much attention in the advent account, he is mentioned a couple times with weighty implications before and after the birth of Christ. When I put myself in his shoes, I suddenly feel a wave of grief and desperation at the news that my beloved is a betrayer. Yes, Joseph initially felt betrayed by Mary. This is evidenced by the fact that he “had a mind to divorce her quietly.” When he found out that she was pregnant, he knew the baby wasn’t his. That could only mean one thing. And even though she had betrayed him, he was too kind, too in love, to make a public example of her. Instead he decided a private divorce would be the best course of action. Oh the agony of that decision! What heartbreak he must have felt! What desolation!

And then a precious gift directly from heaven. But it came at a heavy cost. Joseph received a celestial visit, a dream angel. He was assured that the baby was of God and Mary was not a traitor to their love. And he was told to take her as his wife, in spite of the pregnancy. Mixed with the relief that she had not betrayed him, was the bitter taste of a lost reputation, for by taking Mary as his wife, Joseph was in the public eye, claiming to be the father of her unborn child. Yes, this command from the Lord was a costly one. And this is why I think Joseph is worth pausing to consider. He awoke, and did what the angel commanded. He swallowed his pride, and took Mary as his wife, keeping her pure until the birth of Jesus. He obeyed. Even at an immeasurable cost.

Not long after Jesus was born he received another celestial visit. This time the instructions included a plan of escape to the foreign land of Egypt. Joseph never wavered. He got up, took Mary and the baby, and fled to Egypt. His obedience was immediate and thorough.

Joseph’s road wasn’t an easy one. His calling wasn’t simple by any¬† means. But his humble heart followed doggedly after God no matter what. His part may be easily overlooked in the story of Christ’s advent. But his example is one that stirs my heart. It compels me to consider humble obedience as my Christmas contribution.

One Response to "Christmas Contribution"

  • We talked about Joseph over this Christmas season too. So true that his contribution often is sidelined. What remarkable obedience at an incredible cost with immeasurable reward…Is that possibly the case with most obedience? At least the kind that comes from a heart after God…

    1 Joy said this (January 8, 2013 at 8:01 am) Reply

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