The Untold Christmas Story

Christmas Story Jesus Savior Lord Baby in Manger

When the Christmas story is told, we mainly hear about Mary and baby Jesus born in a manger. Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing means more to me than the birth of my Lord and Savior, but as people across the world flock to churches to hear the story of Jesus’ birth and celebrate his coming to earth I want to talk about another person tucked away in the crevices of the Christmas story. You see there’s another “J” man who may have been overlooked as the wise men were onlookers at the nativity scene. That man is Joseph. I understand Jesus is the focus and Mary is magnificent for offering her life to carry the one who would bring eternal life to the world, but Joseph’s character deserves some credit in the story.

Joseph lives more by faith and less by logic

Mary was legally pledged to marry Joseph, but they hadn’t done the thing husband and wife do. Apparently, there was a child (the Savior of the world to be exact) growing inside Mary that Joseph played no role in creating. Let’s say I was engaged and then said, “Hey, Honey-Darling-Love-Of-My-Life I am pregnant. I can explain though. It’s going to sound a little crazy, but you see Gabriel (an angel not another man) visited me to tell me I will bear a son conceived through the Holy Spirit.” I would struggle to wrap my mind around that gut-wrenching news. I don’t blame Joseph for being fearful after hearing something along those lines and even wanting to divorce Mary who technically would have cheated on him with another man. I mean that’s the only thing that logically makes sense. Thankfully, Joseph lived more by faith and less by logic.
Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Matthew 1:19

Joseph refused to expose Mary to hatred of the world

Here’s Joseph with his bride-to-be with a belly bulging with “another man’s baby.” I wonder if he loved her? If the love he had for in his heart compelled him to pursue divorcing her discreetly, so as to avoid public shaming. Or was he more concerned about his reputation being ruined? It says because he was a righteous man he had in mind to divorce her quietly. I guess the word righteous is cumbersome to me. The definition will tell me what it means, but Joseph’s actions show me what it looks like. It means taking a step back and thinking about the person as an actual person with value, emotions and a life to live.  It means taking the road less traveled when it might have been easier to travel the road more trekked. In this time in Jewish history, it was more common to view women as a thing instead of a person. Joseph was mindful of what it would mean to divorce her publicly, which in those times meant being stoned to death. He didn’t want to embarrass her. Joseph didn’t want her to be exposed to the hatred of the world, ultimately leading to her death. He sounds like a man of integrity that lives to honor others before himself.  Joseph was quite unique and when God chose the woman who would carry his perfect son into this world, he took into account the man who would be his earthly father as well. A man that we tend to overlook when recounting the birth of our savior.

Cyberbullying is running rampant and is our modern-day stoning.

We live in a society of people ready to shame anybody at the drop off a hat. Our arsenals are armed and actively anticipating opportunities to attack others. We put them on blast, burn or roast them. If you even happen to look at someone the wrong way, let alone become pregnant by another man, you end up being humiliated on social media or television. I mean all you have to do is watch an episode of Maury to see this in action. When men hear the resounding words, “You are NOT the father,” they prance around ecstatic that the baby isn’t theirs and then go on a rampage riddling the woman with repulsive names. I understand people willingly sign up to be on TV shows of this nature, but it still provides a snapshot of the world we live in. Cyberbullying is running rampant and is our modern-day stoning. Our keyboards become our weapons for cutting others down while our computer screens offer security from the scars we leave. Shame surrounds us and envelops us like a heavy cloak. Joseph actions were quite counter-cultural.

Our keyboards become our weapons for cutting others down while our computer screens offer security from the scars we leave. Click To Tweet

The right way isn’t always the popular way

We know how the story goes with baby Jesus in the womb. As Joseph is planning how to divorce Mary quietly without bringing her disgrace an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. This angel tells him to take Mary as his wife for the baby is from the Holy Spirit. Do you think he felt relief? “Oh, that’s great news Mr. angel because I thought another man got her pregnant. No big deal now that I know it’s the Holy Spirit!” Maybe he was grateful for being chosen but uncertain of what the future would hold with a child from the Holy Spirit? I’m sure they got a few accusatory looks from the community. The desperate housewives of the day would have had a heyday with this news. It’s possible people whispered and shot judgmental glances towards them,  but he protected his wife through it all choosing an unpopular position over the popular public opinion. As a man of righteousness, he knew the right way would not always be the popular way.

Do you know a man/woman like Joseph? What has that person done to stand up for what he/she believed was right when the world would suggest otherwise?

 

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