When we think about Christmas, it’s hard to keep our minds away from Santa Claus, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Jack Frost. You’d be joking of course if you had to ignore Baby Jesus, the Three Magi or some VeggieTales characters.
One character we don’t always pay attention to is Joseph. Yeah, Joseph, Jesus’ dad. Not a lot of people talk about him, maybe that’s because the Bible doesn’t say much about him either. Joseph’s name is actually mentioned lesser times than the name of Mary (which is why some people pray to her, and not to Joseph).
But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn a thing or two from Joseph. In fact, there are some crucial things we can pick up from the life of Joseph and how it played into fulfilling the promise of a Messiah.
Matthew 1:19 tells us that “her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.”
Joseph had all the reason to turn Mary in because the law gave him permission to, but still he chose to act in compassion and spare Mary the punishment and humiliation (which would have been unnecessary).
When Joseph was confused, God spoke and comforted him through a dream, in which an angel told him the truth about Mary’s pregnancy and gave him instructions on what to do. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a lot of weird dreams and I certainly won’t bet all my cards on some of them.
But Joseph chose to stand in faith, and trust that the dream was a direct message from God. As a result of his faith and trust, he obeyed.
As Mary’s delivery drew closer, Herod decreed a census that would put Joseph through a lot of discomfort and inconvenience by having to travel with his pregnant wife back to his hometown to abide by government policies.
Anyone who has travelled with pregnant women will know what a challenge that might be, but Joseph stuck through it and hustled his way through the trial. As a result, the prophecy that the son of God would be born in the city of David was confirmed.
Joseph isn’t a Christmas character that a lot of people celebrate, but one that we can all learn from. Without his compassion, faith and perseverance, the promise of a savior born into this earth would have never happened, but because of who Joseph was, we now have a reason to celebrate Christmas- that is the birth of the Saviour who rescued us from sin and death.