Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent XXV

As I reflect on the Christmas story, I find myself wondering about Joseph.  After he is mentioned at the beginning of the story, he all but disappears.  The story of the shepherds is told.  When they leave, Mary is left to do her pondering, but there is no mention of Joseph.  Of course, he has a role.  It is his lineage that took them to Bethlehem at that particular time.  And when we turn to Matthew's gospel, we see him as a protector of his family, but at the end of Luke's rendering of what took place after the birth of Jesus, Joseph is mentioned as being present, but nothing more.  Even though we recognize that Luke is more focused on the event through the eyes of Mary and Matthew tells it through the eyes of Joseph, his lack of reaction at the manger still seems strange.
Lest we be too troubled by what we do not know, let us remember what we do know.  Even as Mary was chosen, so was Joseph chosen.  God wanted him to fill the role of being the husband of Mary and the earthly father to His son.  When the angel appeared to Joseph in the dream, Joseph was not told to abandon Mary, but to embrace what God was doing through her.  Joseph was important to the plan of God.  He was an integral part of it.  God would use his lineage and the decree of some pagan government official to orchestrate Jesus being born in Bethlehem, the place of prophecy.  But, more than just this one thing, God chose Joseph to be the male role model for this Son of His.  The influence of Joseph would be one that shaped the boy and the man.
Of course, even though Joseph is not mentioned there alongside his pondering wife, we know he is there.  The Word says he is there alongside of her.  Where else would such a man be except in the middle of being where God was calling him to be?  There is, of course, no better place for any of us to be.  In the grand scheme of things, our place may seem to be small, insignificant, and unimportant, but if we know God's hand on our life, we surely know it is of value because it is being used by God to accomplish a plan sometimes seen,  but also sometimes not seen so clearly.

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