"When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife." Matthew 1:24 (NIV)
Welcome to the second Sunday in Advent. As we continue our series of Christmas Humbleness, we move to Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. Joseph is someone who truly amazed me. There is little written of Joseph in the Bible past the Christmas story. Yet, here we learn much about this truly humble man.
Throughout the Christmas story, Joseph had to deal with many "curve balls". Mary becomes pregnant prior to their marriage. Joseph makes a decision to quietly divorce her (humble decision?). In those days it was. He didn't want to disgrace her, which was typical in these types of situations. Joseph refuses pride and humbles himself to protect Mary.
Then there was the dream when the angel tells Joseph that he needs to continue with the marriage, that the son of Mary is Immanuel. Joseph humbles himself and obeys God's word, taking Mary as his wife. Joseph's life probably would have been easier if he had gone through with the decision to divorce her - he would have been free from the public humility he endured. Yet, he knew that wasn't God's plan, so he obediently followed.
Joseph also obeys as they go to Bethlehem to be registered, and is at Mary's side as she takes that journey with him. He doesn't abandon Mary and leave her behind. Through all of this, Joseph stands up in humility and does the right thing - by Mary and by God.
Later, Joseph wonders what he would actually teach Jesus - the son of God. After all, Joseph was a simple carpenter and wasn't, in actuality, Jesus' father. Joseph could have left at any time. Joseph could have moved on. Yet, that wasn't Joseph. He brought to this world a picture of humility that stays with us today.
In Joseph, we see the humility of helping others, although the position we take may not be a popular one. In Joseph, we see the humility of obeying, although obeying God's word may not be the popular one. In Joseph, we see the humility of commitment, staying with Mary and Jesus long past the birth. In Joseph, we see the humble man that God chose to be Jesus' earthly father.
What can we learn from Joseph? Being humble means obeying God's word through a commitment of helping others. Joseph is our ultimate example of doing this. In our every day lives, our opportunity to do this may be greater than we think. Read God's word - see what He shares about us living out His word. Find those that need to feel God's love and may we move forward in this love, even if it isn't the most "popular" thing to do. Our opportunities are endless, as is God's love. Through God, we are able to live a life of humbleness. The most important thing to remember is that in all actions, the glory goes to God, not to ourselves. At any time, Joseph could have proclaimed himself as Jesus' father, "Look at me, the father of the Savior of the World". Yet, Joseph didn't do this. Through his humbleness, he did so much more - he provided the image of humbleness to God. May we do the same.
Dearest Jesus: Your earthly father, Joseph, is a wonderful picture of humbleness. Through his obedience to God, he lived this out through his actions that we read in the Christmas Story. May we also show that level of humbleness in our daily actions - ensuring that all glory goes to you. In your blessed name we pray, Amen.