Joseph – confusedly joyful

I’ve been reading the “Christmas story” a lot lately – thinking about how profound a story this is – with so much history and future built into it.  I find myself stunned with wonder of it – of God becoming man – and surprised by the joy in the story.

I think a lot about Joseph (being a dad myself) in this story – about what it was like for him.  I wonder if he lived in a state of “confusedly joyful”.  It tells us that Mary treasured things in heart – but it doesn’t tell us much about Joseph – except that he did what God told him.

What are Joseph’s parts in the story:

  • He was going to quietly divorce his pregnant girlfriend/wife – as he was righteous, but kind
  • Then an angel shows up in a dream (much less disturbing than in person) who tells him to go ahead and marry Mary (that sounds strange) and that his baby is going to save the his people from their sins
  • Joseph travels from where he lives (Nazareth) to Bethlehem (where his family is from)  – with Mary – who was in the late stages of her pregnancy (when they tell you not to travel)
  • Joseph’s son is born in a barn – as that’s the only place he could find (I guess the “NoVacancy” signs were up everywhere due to the census)
  • A bunch of Shepherds show up – who already know about the baby and are praising God for him
  • A bunch of wealthy foreign kings/wise men show up and worship his baby son
  • He names him Jesus – like he was told
  • He brings a sacrifice for Jesus to the temple – and meets up with more people talking about what great things his son will do (who was just born)
  • They went looking for his 12 year old son Jesus when traveling later – and found him teaching the teachers

So Joseph experienced a lot of strange stuff surrounding his adopted (not biological) son Jesus.  Things started off strange for him – with angels showing up in dreams telling him what to do.  He must have been both amazed and completely confused by these people showing up to worship his infant son.  It’s like you know something good is going on – but you just don’t get it.

I know sometimes as a dad I’m lost – wondering what is going on and why.  But for Joseph it must have been overwhelming at times – with all the wondrous things going on around him.  But to also know that God had chosen him to participate in something so amazing – would that have left him in a state of  joy and worship of his creator.

I wish sometimes the wonder of the story of Jesus’s birth would extend through the year.  That joy and awe at what God brought together in those moments would be present on each day.  That I would live in awe of what God has done, what he’s doing now and what’s to come.  Because the real joy and hope is not in the story of Jesus’s birth – but that we will live with him forever in the future.  But I think many of us love the story for the hope that we know comes with the arrival of Jesus on earth.

Categories: Bible Thoughts

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