The Forgotten Christmas Character – December 23, 2022

Let’s talk about the forgotten Christmas Character. No not Dancer, Prancer, Donner, or Blitzen. Not even Rudolph. Every Christmas, we rightly sing about the Christ child. We ask if Mary knew stuff. We sing about the Wisemen and the shepherds. And Joseph falls into the background. However, as we look closely at Joseph, we discover a man of incredible faith.

Two young people, Joseph and Mary, were betrothed to be married. Between the betrothal and marriage, Joseph would build a home for them and prepare to provide for his young bride. As he anticipates marriage and works hard to prepare, Mary arrives with news. “Joseph, I am pregnant.” You can imagine the heartbreak that occurs in Joseph. Perhaps he asks, “Who is the father?” Mary then dares to say, “There is no father. God is the father.”

Place yourself in Joseph’s position. He is an adult. He understands basic biology. Now Mary attempts to tell him that she is pregnant by God? It would not be any more believable in that day than it is today. How would you respond? Would you react with anger, bitterness, or distrust?

Matthew 1 gives insight into Joseph’s mindset. Joseph understandably did not believe Mary. Yet, he had the integrity to seek to protect her from what he perceived as her sin. Matthew informs us that he attempted to devise a way to end the engagement without anyone knowing. Even in his hurt, he sought to protect the one he loved.

As he thought through his reaction, God visited Joseph and informed him that Mary had told the truth. At this point, we discover Joseph’s faith. He believed God. He agreed to continue the engagement and enter marriage with Mary. We must understand that in the small town of Nazareth, the news would travel fast. If he ended the engagement, the town would pity him and be on his side. If he went through with the marriage, the town would think he was the father. Later in the Gospels, we discover that this is what happened as they refer to Jesus as the son of Joseph. Having a child out of wedlock was an absolute scandal in that day. Yet Joseph was willing to endure the ridicule to obey God.

We rarely talk about Joseph. But perhaps we should talk about him more often. He endured a wide range of emotions and ridicule while holding onto his faith. He obeyed God even though it negatively impacted his reputation with his family and friends. He believed God when told of the impossible. And he loved Mary through it all. Men, we should strive to be like Joseph. We should seek to be faithful men of integrity. This Christmas, remember Joseph.