Luke only mentions his name a couple of times; Mark and John not at all. The little we do know of Joseph comes from a few verses in Matthew—and that’s not a lot. We know he cared enough for Mary that he wanted to protect her from the public scorn and disgrace that a young woman in her circumstances was destined for.
We know he was a righteous man that believed what the angel of the Lord had spoken to him (in a dream; always in a dream) and thus was obedient in all that he was asked to do and to be. We know he led his family to Bethlehem for the census and was resourceful in providing a safe (yet humble) space for his young bride to give birth. And we know he protected his young family from danger when he fled with them in the middle of the night to Egypt to keep them safe from Herod’s wrath. Caring, protective, righteous, believing, obedient, providing . . . a pretty good list of qualities, to say the least.
And yet Joseph was never intended to be a main character in the story. Although his role was important, he realized that he was not the point—Jesus was. It is as if he voluntarily stepped aside, into the background, in order for the main character to take center stage. His role in this drama would be one of background rather than spotlight. He was simply part of the supporting cast, somehow both recognizing and embracing this reality.
In fact, Joseph’s very best work—the nurture, care, and guidance of Jesus in his formative years—was done in virtual anonymity. Not a word, other than the instance at the temple when Jesus was twelve, was ever written about it. He was a hidden and silent partner in the unfolding story of God’s life on earth. For the most part, he was unrecognized, unsung, and unnoticed—and it is simply beautiful.
During this Christmas season, I want to be more like Joseph—to realize that Jesus is the point of the story and therefore to embrace the covert and behind-the-scenes ways we are called to help “bring him into” this dark and broken world.
Scripture Reference: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Matthew 1:18 KJV
The Best Christmas Carol”
What’s your favorite Christmas song? I bet if I asked you to whistle or hum it right now, you’d hit the melody pretty well. As you know, a melody is a sequence of individual notes that are played one after another, creating a song.
Now think of your favorite performance of that same song. I’m willing to bet that you thought of a version that included beautiful harmonies, either by voice or instrument.
A harmony is when two or more different-sounding notes come together to make a stronger and more beautiful sound. Sure, all you need is a melody to make a simple song, but harmony is what makes a song whole.
A melody is what gives a song its body.
A harmony is what gives that body a soul.
The birth of Jesus was a harmonic introduction to a world of individual songs. The human race could never reach its full potential and constantly yearned for its meaning.
We needed Jesus to change that. Because of his birth, his sacrifice, and his resurrection, we are now able to be more than just individual notes. As my favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night, says . . .
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
Jesus brought us into harmony with God the Father. He makes our songs beautiful.
But it doesn’t end there. Not only are we now able to live in harmony with our Creator, but we are called to be the harmony for the world. Paul said it best in his letter to the Romans . . .
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. – Romans 12:16
God is not calling us to be just a bunch of different melodies, competing with one another, trying to make the best song. He is calling us to live in harmony—bringing everyone together to make a unified song that glorifies him.
Christmas is a time when we all come together, but it is easy to get distracted by our own differences. This month, ask God to make apparent the harmony you have with him, and thank him for it. In turn, reflect that harmony for those whose songs are yearning to be made more beautiful.
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
Romans 12:16 KJV