Advent 20-Tusday, 22 December

Joseph. A character who is almost in shadows, as he appears in few places in the bible story.

But what he did is not shadowy.  “Being a just man and unwilling to put Mary to shame” is the spare description we have. He wasn’t perfect, but God called him virtuous man. Makes sense as God couldn’t trust the holy baby to normal “sinners”. Joseph has no dialogues in the story, but his actions speak volumes. He showed compassion toward Mary, to his arranged betrothal. What a bitter disappointment it must have been to discover what seemed to be her unfaithfulness, yet he put those feelings aside and put Mary’s welfare first. That was classy. Then crazy things happened. An angelic appearance in a dream. The child is special, a savior, …the Messiah.

Joseph obeyed God, even when it went beyond all human common sense. A real man, who told stone throwing men of his time and ours: “It is always another way”. Joseph believed the angel messenger in his dream was for real. He believed Mary was innocent of betrayal. He married her, then showed self-restraint so she would remain a virgin until after the birth, just as the Torah prophesied. He became a part of this amazing story of God stepping into history. He was the best earthy father Jesus  could have.

You can pray: “Dear God, thank you for choosing people like Joseph, flawed and ordinary, but with potential for compassion, humility, obedience, and love through faith in you. Thank you for choosing this young couple of modest means and earnest hearts to be your earthly family. May I be as open and trusting and compassionate. Amen”.

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