And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David. Luke 2:4
What thought comes to mind when you think of Joseph? Is he just a minor figure in the whole Christmas story? Scripture tells us he was a righteous man from the bloodline of David, and he was betrothed to Mary.
According to Hebrew custom, marriages were a contract negotiated by parents. Once the contract was complete, the individuals were considered husband and wife, though they would not live together for one year. It was during this one year waiting period that Mary became pregnant. Joseph must have been heartbroken. It would seem all his hopes and dreams shattered, but his actions showed his great love for Mary. He wanted to quietly divorce her and save her from shame and potential stoning as Jewish law dictated for unfaithful wives.
In the midst of what would have been a dark time, an angel appeared to Joseph, reassuring him and telling him not to fear. His wife was indeed to have a baby, a baby which was conceived by the Holy Spirit! Joseph was to name Him Jesus because He would save His people from sin. Joseph, who was once filled with despair, was now part of the greatest story ever told. He chose to believe the angel and trust God with all he held dear.
Now that is indeed a man of faith, not a minor figure in the most important event in history. He chose to trust God and do away with doubt as he led his little family to Bethlehem for the fulfillment of Micah's prophecy: "But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days." (Micah 5:2)
Questions for reflection and discussion
1. What circumstances in the Christmas season seem hard to you?
2. What steps could you take to put your trust in God and not your circumstance?
Dear God, We pray that in times of trouble we will trust in You. In Jesus' name, amen.