Being a married men gives me a glimpse of an insight into the situation that Joseph was thrown into.
Christmas is often seen from Mary’s point of view, which is of course amazing and an important point of view to consider. Listening to 4HIM’s “A Strange Way to Save the World” and picturing what he must have had to deal with again makes me a bit teary. Listening to the song two days shy of Christmas makes the song more impactful.
If I could put myself in Joseph’s shoes … Joseph would have been so excited to get engaged to Mary. He would’ve been a bit nervous about the arrangement and everything, wanting everything to be perfect. Then when Mary told him that he was pregnant, I could just imagine how brokenhearted he was – he wouldn’t have that perfect wedding that he wanted and instead he was thrusted into a situation that was so alient and so terrifying. I could imagine the accusations, the whispers-behind-his-back, the sneers and jeers that he had from his friends and from his extended relatives.
I could also imagine him having to load a pregnant Mary on to the donkey and bring her all the way to Bethlehem, thinking of what could have been, if things had been perfect, according to him. Instead of enjoying a period of intimacy and honeymoon together, they instead have to deal with a pregnancy that would have been so difficult to explain. People would have accused Joseph of inventing such a story to cover his alleged misdeed. Something that brings such an insight to me how God has picked the right man to be Joseph’s earthly father is this verse,
“Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 1:19-20 (NLT)
Joseph had all the right to be angry and yet, he chose to be obedient and trust the words that were given to him. He would have had to stay silent in the face of all accusations and sneers. Yes, it would have been very difficult for Mary, but it would be as equally hard for Joseph too.
Imagine Joseph looking at Mary asleep with Jesus softly cooing in the manger, overcome by a massive burden. “I am just a simple man, engaged to a simple girl. I’m a nobody”. “Why me? Why Mary?” He would have had to weep alone rather than showing his fear and confusion to Mary.
Then, when the shepherds unexpectedly came to pay their respect and three strange-looking regal men with unrecognised language and accents came by out of nowhere, bearing gifts – it would have solidified the faith that God had put in his heart. However, I could also imagine his insecurities as a man, “God, would I be a good father? How could you have trusted me to take care of Your son? Would I teach Him all the right things?”
Imagine as well, the type of things that Jesus said that were incomprehensible to him, and yet he would have had the heart and the faith to take them all in. He would have to assert his authority as the head of the family and yet realise that the son that was entrusted to him is the Son of God.
Joseph’s role and position in the birth of Jesus are often overlooked when we discuss Christmas. The song and seeing things from Joseph’s perspective have given me such an insight on how big his heart must have been. A man who might have planned about his future, as well as the when and how many children he would have wanted – and then this. A wife who gave birth to the Saviour that would in turn save him and his wife.
What a man.