He plays one of the smaller roles in the Christmas story, yet because of his integrity – God chose him as step-father for the holy.
Joseph, son of another Jacob, is mentioned in the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1. This was the man whose fiancé, Mary, received more attention than he. In fact, most nativity scenes dress Mary in royal blue with a halo around her face while Joseph stands in the background, clothed in a drab brown robe.
A strong man knows when to step forward but also when to step back.
Joseph is the intuitive character who listens to angels, both before and after the birth of Jesus. He follows instructions to the letter, probably an important habit for a carpenter.
He is the righteous man who refuses to condemn Mary to a public stoning, even after she is found to be pregnant before their marriage. Instead, he quietly marries her and supports her calling as the virgin mother of the Messiah.
He is the man of integrity who refuses to consummate their marriage until after her baby is born.
He protects the mother and child, moves them away from Herod and into Egypt, then back to Nazareth when it is safe.
Joseph appears in just a few scenes within the first two chapters of Matthew. Then after a brief cameo appearance when Jesus was 12 and impressing teachers at the synagogue, Joseph disappears.
Legend tells us that he must have been the one who taught Jesus how to craft furniture, removed splinters from the young Messiah’s hands and modeled patience while building, sanding and polishing finished products.
Scripture also implies that he died long before young Jesus began his public ministry. Joseph left a widow and several children, including his step-son Jesus, the Christ.
Joseph lived as an honorable man who played an important yet virtually silent role in the Christmas story. His example lives on and reminds us that God can use each of us in a mighty way – no matter how public or private our roles.
© 2012 GateWay of Hope Ministries