Why is Joseph an Important Part of the Story?


It’s so easy to get swept up in the Advent season to get excited about Mary and Elizabeth and John the Baptist and on and on and on. There are so many giants of our faith in Advent that it’s easy to glance over Joseph. He is huge figure in the life of Jesus and an example to us as parents, teens and all Catholics. Here are two takeaways from his role as Jesus’ papa.

Quit Talking and Listen

There is not a single word uttered by Joseph in Scripture.

It’s that simple. We need to quit talking. We need to quit with all the busyness. We need to find some silence.

Joseph has done some huge things after listening to God. There are three different visions Joseph receives that he immediately acts on. Joseph keeps Mary as his wife when she becomes pregnant with Jesus. Joseph decides on a treacherous journey to Egypt and back to keep his family safe from a murderous king. These are no small decisions.

When’s the last time you listened to God? When’s the last time your conscience told you to go the other way, and you did it? It’s obvious that Joseph’s relationship with God is mature and willing to make tough choices.

All this says to us that it’s time to listen to God in His teachings, in His small voice through our conscience and in His presence in our lives. Life is a really busy place right now where there’s no down time. There’s no stopping. There’s always another activity. Find some time to just sit in God’s presence and listen.

Suck It Up and Deal

Joseph’s no complainer.

He’s a man of action. None of his life situations are easy. And none of his life situations are any different than our lives today.

Our relationships are no less complex than the one between Joseph and Mary.

Let’s say your relationship with someone is going bad or in a tough spot. It’s easy to just let go and shame them, rip them in front of others and treat them like trash, right? You look cool in front of those who agree with you and that person had it coming, right?

Joseph says “No” to that. Joseph says grow up and treat that person like you would want to be treated. No one wants to go through life looking for ways to end relationships, so why are we quick to do it? Relationships are hard and filled with good and bad. So take the good with the bad and treat people with respect.

Advent brings about big deal changes in millions of people’s lives. Year after year, we look at where our life is headed and decide it’s time to change direction. That direction needs to move towards God. And when we look at the life of Joseph, these two traits he has can bring out the best in us. Oh sure, we are moving towards God in the process, but if we talk less and listen more or suck it up when things are not that easy and make the best of it, we are better people.

God knows what He’s doing. Following the example of Joseph can give you a new life and new life all at the same time.

Bryan Ramsey

Bryan Ramsey is the director of youth ministry at St. James in Menomonee Falls, WI. Besides Christian formation for some 400 middle and high schoolers, there's youth group activities, inter-generational programs, retreats, service experiences, prayer nights, mission trips, conferences, fundraisers and plenty of other good things jammed into his ministry life. Plus, he is a youth minister's husband and 5-kid father. There's a lot going on there.

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