Advent Reflections: Joseph
A couple of years ago, I wrote out a self-published e-book of Advent Devotions. You can still buy it from Amazon.com here: Advent Reflections. However, I’m going to re-use the whole thing for daily blog posts here on the blog this year. This week features double-posts to finish by Christmas.
Hymn numbers are from the 2008 Baptist Hymnal/Worship Hymnal from Lifeway.
“Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,” Luke 2:4 (NASB)
Joseph. The other half of “Mary and Joseph,” one of the most famous couples in world history. When you read the whole story, you discover something I consider extraordinary: he has no lines in the Bible. There are places where he obviously had to say something: after all, you have to say “I do” or the wedding does not count.
Yet besides these points where it is implied that Joseph has to have said something, we do not know anything he actually said. You could cast a Christmas movie with Joseph played by any “strong, silent type” actor. As long as he looks like he would not panic in a pinch, you have a Joseph.
Most of us cannot do that. We have to talk, we have to express. Words flow from our mouths from the moment we get up until the hours after we go to bed. Some people even use computer software to keep talking. Yes, there’s an app for that.
We could learn from Joseph. Joseph secures his place in the Christmas story by what he does more than by what he says. The story of Joseph is an action story. He takes Mary, he keeps her a virgin, and he travels to Bethlehem. From there, he gets up, flees to Egypt, and then remains there. Then, Joseph with family in tow goes and dwells in Nazareth.
We live in a world filled with words, but our actions reveal who we truly are and what we truly believe. Joseph could have paid flowery words of lip service to God and then bolted for Parthia after the angel appeared to him. He does no such thing and instead says home in Nazareth, takes his wife, and raises God’s Son in his home.
What will your actions be this year? It is easy to get involved in the uproar that surrounds Christmas in modern times. Every year there is a push to insist that people remember this is Christmas and not a generic holiday. Every year there is a pushback to keep school kids and public parks playing only Jingle Bells instead of Silent Night.
Christians can burn up a lot of words about keeping Christ in Christmas and about remembering the reason for the season, but do our actions drown them out? One calm face among the madmen on Black Friday (or Christmas Eve shopping!) can keep Christ in Christmas to a store clerk. A customer that smiles, says “please” and “thank you”, and leaves a charitable tip can say more to a waitress than demanding music about Baby Jesus in the restaurant.
Spending the time with your family at peace rather than dragging them from mall to store to mall to shopping plaza to find everything on everyone’s list may just speak the volumes about focus and love that you have been trying to say. Letting the feast be smaller but the fellowship more relaxed will kill no one and might enliven the hearts of the ones involved!
Let your actions this year be the biggest part of your Christmas.
Scripture passage for the day: Matthew 1:24-25 (NIV)
When Joseph woke up,
he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took Mary home as his wife.
But he did not consummate their marriage
until she gave birth to a son.
And he gave him the name Jesus.
Hymn for the day: O Holy Night #194
Prayer: Lord God, my actions speak so loudly that my words cannot be heard. Help my actions to glorify You so that my words are additions and not corrections. Let me speak in word and deed this Christmas, and may it become a habit that honors Jesus throughout the year. In His name I pray, Amen.
 Yes, I have that app. It stores items I want to put on Facebook and Twitter and posts them all around the clock. It’s called Buffer and it’s at Bufferapp.com.