Sometimes, during our reflections on Christmas, we can easily forget about the man behind the scenes. Mary and Jesus are front and centre, as they should be. A birth is of course a miraculous event centred on Mother and Child. We easily think of the Shepherds and the Wise Men, traveling from afar to pay homage to the Saviour. We think of the Inn Keeper who stood less than a foot from God Incarnate in the Womb, the Inn Keeper who denied the Lord entrance into his home. We think of the King of the Jews who wished to destroy the plan of salvation. But much of the time, we pass over the Earthly Father of the Son of the Heavenly Father.
Saint Joseph speaks no recorded words in the New Testament, yet his actions speak loud enough for Satan to quake at the sound of his chivalry. In the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, we see that Joseph, betrothed to Mary is prepared to call off the marriage after he finds her to be pregnant with the supposed Arbiter of Salvation. Understandably, he rejects the claim as it is surely an unbelievable claim. But Joseph, is a man of God, he is a gentlemen who seeks to protect the reputation of the Young Virgin. His intention is to “divorce her quietly”, but as a true man of God, he leaves his heart open to the whispers of Yahweh. In dream he is told the news of the Virgin Conception, and he submits to the will of God.
The Most Chase Spouse accompanies his bride across the desert to the town of Bethlehem. He is rendered helpless and is unable to find a more worthy birthing stage than a stable filled with animals. Imagine just for a moment the heart break of this father and husband as he looks into his wife’s eyes as the Inn Keeper shuts the door on their final hope of a dignified delivery.
Joseph is called by God to guard not only the life of his adopted Son, but he is a model for fathers of our day who are called to humble themselves in service to their families as the world shuts the door on the birth of children.
Joseph is the original champion of the Fight for Life in a world bent on a Massacre of the Infants. He is the Soldier who stands guard as God sneaks into the world from the inside. He wastes no time, he simply leads his family. He leads the Holy Family in their Flight to Egypt, and forges a new life for the Mother and Son of God. He needs no praise, he needs no commemoration, because he is a father. Joseph is easily forgotten as we reflect on the story of the Nativity, but only because he is too busy putting his family first.