Little is known about Joseph. What we know of him teaches of a man of great faith, love and devotion to God and family. We first learn of Joseph as recorded in Matthew that he was espoused the Mary and then it is written that he learned about Mary being pregnant before an Angel appeared to him. What thoughts must of crossed his mind before understand the nature of her pregnancy? We learn from this telling moment that he must of had great love for Mary for it is recorded that, "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily." (Matthew 1:19) How his heart must of broken when he first heard the news yet he didn't lash out in anger or judgement. How glorious must of been his visit with the Angel, Gabriel, and pure joy must of infused within him to know that he still could marry his beloved, Mary. The Angel said, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:20-21) It reads in Matthew that, "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife." (Matthew 1:24)
To me Joseph shows great devotion to not only Mary but to God. I wonder what must of passed through his mind as he realized that he would have care over Jesus while on earth. He too, like Mary, must of been the very best man that was ever born, to be given this great responsibility in helping to teach and raise Jesus. I can't imagine the thoughts and feelings that Joseph and Mary must of pondered as they prepared for the birth of Christ.
As the time grew closer to the Savior's birth, Joseph and Mary had to go back to Bethlehem to be taxed as was the law at this time. I have been pregnant 4 times and I can't even imagine what it must of been like to be 8 or 9 months pregant and riding on the back of a donkey over rough terrain for over 100 miles. As they entered Bethlehem, Joseph began to look for lodging so that Mary could be as comfortable as possible as she gave birth to Jesus. How his heart must of been heavy to realize that their was no room left in the inn.
Elder Holland said, "
One impression which has persisted with me recently is that this is a story—in profound paradox with our own times—that this is a story of intense poverty. I wonder if Luke did not have some special meaning when he wrote not “there was no room in the inn” but specifically that “there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7; italics added.) We cannot be certain what the historian intended, but we do know these two were desperately poor…
I wonder what emotions Joseph might have had as he cleared away the dung and debris. I wonder if he felt the sting of tears as he hurriedly tried to find the cleanest straw and hold the animals back. I wonder if he wondered: “Could there be a more unhealthy, a more disease-ridden, a more despicable circumstance in which a child could be born? Is this a place fit for a king? Should the mother of the Son of God be asked to enter the valley of the shadow of death in such a foul and unfamiliar place as this? Is it wrong to wish her some comfort? Is it right He should be born here?”
Can we like Joseph make "room" for Jesus Christ in our lives? Do we have the faith enough to serve God and others with such care as did Joseph? Today, as we Countdown until Christmas, let's serve one another like Joseph, Mary and Jesus all did. Here is a small tag to attach to a bell to help your family do small acts of service today and throughout the year. The idea of the bell comes from a great book that my sister-in-law gave to me for Christmas a few years ago called "A Christ-Centered Christmas" by Emily Freeman. It is a very short book, but packed with inspired ideas. Have fun decorating a bell and then use it to "ring" for service like you might do if you lived in a castle! The idea is to do a secret act of service for someone in the family and then leave it on the pillow of the person you did a service for. When you find a bell on your pillow it is your turn to do a service for someone else and leave the bell on their pillow. Continue to serve one another and the spirit of love will be strengthened in your home just as the love between Joseph and Mary must of been strengthened through their early marriage.