This Gospel passage from Luke is the only Gospel that provides the details of the birth of Jesus and we are all intimately familiar with it as it is often proclaimed during Christmas Eve services.
While the Advent message of waiting, patience and preparedness often leads us towards Mary’s readily acceptance in the birth of Jesus, I have always identified more with Joseph’s story. It must have been difficult to know that his betrothed was having a child out of wedlock that was not even his and was said to be from God. What faith and inner strength he must have had to quietly embrace this and to let the awe-inspiring events unfold around him. Joseph’s obedience in following the decree to return to his ancestral home of Bethlehem was difficult because it was a reminder that God’s people, while in in the land of promise, were not free and must follow the rules and dominance of others. But this does bring families together. While there, Joseph, as the protective father, does what he needs to do for his family by finding a safe and warm place for the impending birth - a stable, which foreshadows the kingdom of Christ as it shelters and protects all comers as none are cast out and all are cared for and nourished.
As an adoptive single father, Joseph’s story always resonated with me. Like Joseph, my blind faith on saying yes to the call of fatherhood created the gift of my family of choice and nurtured a real understanding of the depth of God’s love which was possible for me. Providing the opportunities for my son to outshine all the other surrounding stars, including mine, created beacon of hope and inspiration for our world, especially as it is so needed now.
Joseph always lived in the shadows of other shining stars but was always a constant steadfast and quiet source of strength. Who or what in your life provide you strength to allow your light to outshine others?