Advent Devotional for Wednesday, December 5

Christmas Character: Joseph

Suggested reading: Matthew 1:18-21, Luke 2:5-6

We really don’t hear a whole lot about Joseph, Mary’s husband. We know he was a carpenter, betrothed to Mary, and that he considered “putting her aside quietly” when he learned she was pregnant. He saw an angel in a dream who urged him to take Mary as his wife. We know he was of the “house and lineage of David;” which is why he and Mary ended up in Bethlehem in the first place, thus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy.

We also know little about Jesus until He begins His public ministry. We know He stayed behind at the temple to be about His Father’s business, and that Mary and Joseph had to return there looking for their son.

We know still less about the family life in the home of Mary and Joseph. We are told there were other children born after Jesus, but we have little more than names (and in the case of his brother James, a relatively short book in the New Testament offering practical advice on how to live as a Christian). What were the family dynamics in this particular household? Was “Wait ‘til your father gets home” a threat that Mary occasionally used with her other children? Were there chores assigned to the kids? We’re told that Jesus led a sinless life, but I wonder if He ever uttered the words “But Mom, James started it!” Did the other children actively dislike their older brother, who never seemed to do anything wrong? Did He learn the carpenter’s trade from His earthy father? Did Jesus work in what seemed to His neighbors to be “the family business?”

Perhaps the most important lesson in considering those sorts of questions is realizing that we each have roles to play and that it is God who assigns those roles. We must remember to seek His guidance in helping us to determine what we are destined to do each and every day, and to ask Him to bless us as we play those roles.