Today at church we were looking at Joseph, I wasn’t really on form, due to a rough night of sick children, and a few too many glasses of rioja. I was distracted by my gorgeous daughter who didn’t want to go to sleep, and was looking very cute. There were lots of activities going on in the church around us, and people were talking about a whole host of community activities that the church is involved in.
A friend of ours passed away this time last year, and we all went up to the funeral in deep snow. It was emotionally draining and a reunion of friends we didn’t really want to be at. I hope his soul is resting in peace as he was a lovely man, and is very much missed. At this time of year, there is sometimes a bitter-sweet feeling to all the arrangements and planning, but I am sure it was the same for Mary and Joseph.
Joseph was a carpenter, probably a fairly straightforward man. He didn’t believe his wife was carrying the messiah, after an angel had visited, he thought she’d had an affair like the rest of the village. Mary was put in a really difficult position, but eventually Joseph came round to understand what was happening and supported her. This meant leaving everything and everyone he knew, and going away to start a family without any financial or emotional support from the people who loved him. Also having the responsibility of parenting the messiah, how scary is that? As a first time dad, wouldn’t he be a bit nervous? What an amazing man!
Our daughter was born in March last year, and the memories are still fresh in my mind of those first few weeks and months. Although Jesus may have slept at night and never cried, it would still have been hard work. After Jesus was born they had to go on the run, and live in exile, fearing for their lives. After things had settled down Jospeh and Mary went onto have more children including James who’s chapter we have been looking at, and it seems clear he was a man of high principles and good character.
As they say, God moves in mysterious ways, but if he was going to be “textbook “ about sending down a son to us all, this isn’t how you would imagine it to start off. He sent his hope for the whole world to be looked after by first time parents, who then become homeless refugees without any support from her family, who were busy getting ready for a big community event somewhere else.
To me, it is such an unlikely story, it has to be true!