The silence of Joseph
JOSEPH the carpenter and the husband of Mary is a mysterious character of Christmas. I cannot find in the story of Christmas that he said something!
His silence to me is a timely gift of hope that I need to unwrap and marvel on how it speaks a thousand words of faith in God. Don't get me wrong, it did not at all mean that Joseph did not speak at all. It's that his actions spoke louder than words! He was not a hypocrite he was honest about his doubts about Mary being pregnant even before their marriage. Joseph was gracious he wanted to break the engagement quietly to spare Mary from disgrace. A man of few words but a man of principle and grace.
The LORD appeared to him in a dream (Matt. 1:20) and made clear to him that everything that is happening to Mary and the baby she has in her womb is not an accident but the birth of HOPE for this hopeless world. Again, without delay and without words Joseph obeyed God and took Mary to be his wife.
The details of Joseph's obedience to God was not an easy path. It was full of many dangers and inconveniences enough to make one grumble and back off. In silence, Joseph kept obeying God! Their travel to Bethlehem is not an easy one. Let me paint a picture for you: The journey is dangerous; with a pregnant wife it makes it even complicated. Remember, it was a tax paying season definitely not a season to be jolly. People are not especially nice that time, angry and rude was the prevailing attitudes of many that time. No room in the inn added to the misery. In silence, Joseph is clearly hearing God's assurance that all is well!
Finally, on that night when Jesus was born as we see in the Christmas Belen, Joseph stands quietly and beaming with hope and gratitude he looks at the baby Jesus. No word and yet his silence is so profound that I needed to reflect myself and marvel how his silence is much needed today. If many are clamoring for freedom of speech, Joseph savors freedom of silence!
Perhaps the silence of Joseph is a wonderful model of how we should celebrate this unique Christmas in this Covid captivity. I ask you to try it!
This year Christmas will be officially different. No carols, no pomp and parties, family reunion will be postponed. Church services have to observe many restrictions including no singing.
Frankly and humbly, I'm learning to cultivate what God is stirring in my heart- a Holy Excitement to just be silent. Fewer words, less singing in church and less many things, a Divine kind of subtraction.
Joseph, you will be my model on how to celebrate Christmas this year. Your silence quiets the rumbling of my ungrateful heart, it invites me to take the journey, from resentment to gratitude!
REV. ARNEL TAN Straight from the heart