Matthew 1:19 describes St. Joseph as “Joseph was a man who always did what was right..”
What a beautiful description of the man chosen by God to be the head of the household of His family, the guardian of God’s own Son.
Although St. Joseph speaks no words in the Bible, we are given much information about this holy and blessed man. We know he came from the tribe of David. We know it was the father’s duty to name the child. Joseph was instructed by an angel to take Mary as his wife and name the child Jesus, (God Saves). We know that upon awaking from his dream with the angel, Joseph immediately surrendered his life over to God’s will and took Mary into his home. Joseph was the first man to lay down his life for the mission of bringing Jesus to the whole world. The marriage of Mary and Joseph was a holy union of hearts. Their pure love for each other created the marriage sacrament whereby today marriages in Church are sanctified by the Spirit.
I can only imagine the astonishment this man must have felt. He knew first hand the awesome mystery of Mary’s motherhood. As he witnessed the child growing in her womb, he must have felt great pride and love, but also fear of the challenges they must face. His mission was to serve and protect this mother and son. Even for the holy family, the path was not an easy one.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The King came into this world in a small stable and was laid in a manger. St. Joseph kneeling at Mary’s side during the birth was the first man to kneel before Christ the Lord. Assisting with the delivery, he would have been the first the hold the Child Jesus. I imagine he looked up to heaven thanking God for the precious Child. Looking up he would have witnessed the star and wondered at the light that shone down on his family. Later he also marveled at the shepherds who gathered to pay homage as they explained to Joseph they were led by angels and then the wise men who were led by that guiding star.
The next time an angel appeared to Joseph, the message was one of a warning. Joseph was warned that Herod wanted to kill the baby Jesus and was told to escape with his family to Egypt. That must have been a terrifying experience! The Lord God must have trusted Joseph tremendously to entrust His only Son to Joseph’s care. Joseph must have trusted the Lord tremendously to have listened and obeyed.
Joseph fulfilled his mission. He kept the family safe, returning to reside in Nazareth when the angel informed him it was now safe to return. We know that Jesus was obedient to his parents. Jesus loved, obeyed and honored Joseph and Mary, his parents. When Jesus was a man, St. Joseph passed away. I believe Jesus was there at St. Joseph’s side as he left this world. One man’s mission was complete; another Man’s mission was just beginning. Jesus in a way owed His very existence and ability to complete His mission to that wonderful man, Joseph, who “always did what was right.”
St. Joseph is a great model for how we should love our Lord. St. Joseph’s gift of self allowed the fulfillment of God’s greatest gift to us!
This Christmas Eve, walk out into the night with your family and look for the Christmas star. Remember the holy family and the sacrifice of St. Joseph; thank him for serving and caring for Our Lord, Jesus.