This last Sunday before Christmas is a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus. The readings take us in a different direction except for the gospel. The gospel tells us about Joseph who discovers that his future wife is pregnant. Imagine his situation since he is a good and caring man who does not want to bring disgrace and shame to Mary. He decides to divorce her quietly.
“Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins… When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.”
Joseph must have been a man of great faith to believe the message of the angel he received in his dream. This is the beginning of other traumatic events to come for him. We know that Mary and Joseph traveled to Jerusalem for the census but Mary’s time for the birth of Jesus came as they traveled. They had no place to stay so they ended up in a manger so she could give birth to the infant. We know Joseph was warned in another dream to take Mary and the baby to Egypt because the child’s life was in danger. Eventually the family was able to return home safely.
Joseph becomes the “invisible man” after this. We don’t know how long he lived or any other events in his life. In spite of knowing nothing else about him, he remains a central figure in the birth of Jesus. This last week in Advent might be a good time to reflect on Joseph and the kind of man he was.
His deep faith is something all of us should emulate. He didn’t question how he should deal with difficulties. He trusted and did what was best for his family. How well do we deal with difficult times? Are we complainers, or do we do our best? He was a faithful husband and father. How willing are we to support and care for those we love, despite difficulties? We know he was a carpenter. How committed are we to our vocation in life, whatever that may be? If we had been in Joseph’s position, how would we have acted? This week is a good time for us to reflect on our lives, our faith, trust and care for others. St. Joseph, pray for us.
What part of the Christmas story touches you?
In what way can you emulate at least on virtue of Joseph?