December 4th–– Joseph
24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, 25 “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.” (Lk. 1:24-25)
Reflection (Mark Patrick):
Joseph: the Obedient Dreamer
Joseph was a pivotal character in the Christmas story. However, he is often viewed as a side character. Mary gets the focus as the mother of Jesus.
Joseph and Mary are engaged to be married. We assume they are in love and care deeply for one another. So, when Joseph learns that Mary is pregnant he is rightly confused. Still the story recounts his reluctance to act punitively with Mary, preferring to handle the matter quietly. He is respectful and compassionate. Joseph protects and guides Mary in their travels and is a husband to Mary and a father to Jesus as he grows up.
We learn in Matthew’s gospel that Joseph is also a dreamer. The angel of the Lord tells him in a dream to not be afraid to marry Mary…that it’s all in God’s plan. When he wakes from the dream he does as directed without hesitation.
Later, Joseph receives direction in another dream; to go to Egypt where he and Mary and the child will be safe from King Herod.
Again, when Herod dies Joseph is directed by God in another dream to go home because it’s now safe. As he begins he receives yet another dream-direction to go to the region of Galilee.
In all these dreams Joseph shows himself ready to follow the light and direction that God gives in a way that he can receive and understand.
Here then is a key idea for us from Joseph’s example: are we learning to follow God’s sometimes challenging path for us without hesitation?
In this Christmas season, is there something challenging that God might be asking you to do?
Lord, thank you for the ways that you all to us and challenge us to trust you. Grant us the courage to do so even now. In Jesus’ name, Amen!