THE SHELTER OF JOSEPH
The Joseph of the Bible is written as a quiet, unassuming man. Portrayed as a man who just took what came his way without much to say of his situation. Probably scorned and judged by the villagers he bore it all for the woman chosen by God, not only to carry the child Jesus but to support her. This humble loving man, despite being the gossip of many, did not hide away in shame although unwed, he believed God within the strength of solid faith. Joseph gave shelter, comfort and understanding love to Mary which is what the Lord continues to give us, no matter what the circumstances.
Imagine Joseph’s face and stricken heart on learning of Mary’s pregnancy. Did he flinch and turn away? An angel of holiness visited him and he trusted the truth of all that was to come. Joseph and Mary became betrothed in commitment according to Jewish law.
The ordeal of traveling to their destination of Bethlehem for a census, involved enduring being placed in a stable due to no room available at any Inn. For Mary to birth this baby in such conditions caused Joseph to almost doubt in despair. Amidst the odor of animals with only unclean, prickly straw to lie on, they felt so alone. Away from family, wearing the same clothes, longing to wash, exhausted and needing sleep, it was the evening of birth as ordained and proclaimed. The shelter of Joseph’s love and faith was constant, consistent and steadfast. The birth fulfilled the predicted arrival of the Savior to the world.
Joseph’s courage, loyalty and comfort to Mary as the baby Jesus was birthed meant a shared anointing to both. A heavenly hosted birth, as told in Luke two, verse 13. Shepherds and angels rejoiced in the ‘Lord Light’ of this midnight revelation. Three wise men brought gifts to the stable in reverence and departed to spread the news.
Mary treasured and pondered on all, in her heart, (Luke 2/19) and Joseph’s soul was flooded with gratitude and humility. Awed, he felt humble at being chosen to be present at the son of God’s blessed birth. They returned to Galilee after eight days to raise Jesus.
Their faith would combat any opposition to their situation. Joseph was a servant of the Lord in integrity, trust and obedience and held honorably in much esteem by God’s grace.
There may not be any room in the Inn for you to shelter right now but there will always be room in God’s heart for you, if you are willing.