Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joseph at Bethlehem

If I were Joseph, I think that I would have felt more than a little inadequate.

God, having chosen to bless Mary with the singular privilege of bearing the Messiah, appointed Joseph their guardian, and with the birth of the young Messiah imminent, Joseph couldn't even find them a decent place to stay. Yes, it was the Romans' fault for making everybody return to the town of their fathers to register for the census, but surely a more industrious man could have made arrangements for his pregnant young wife to sleep in some comfort and security.

But Joseph, arriving in Bethlehem with Mary, was turned away from the inn. At least he was able to swing permission for them to sleep in the stable with the animals. For a person with great faith, such as Joseph was, he must have been thankful for that. I think that I would have been discouraged. I would have been tempted to wonder what God could have been thinking. The child is about to be born in a stable! He deserves so much more! He deserves more than I (Joseph) can give him.

In retrospect, we all know that God had his reasons. The circumstances surrounding the birth of Christ serve to highlight the humility of the incarnate deity. The trappings of wealth and power are not significant to God. In fact, they often get in the way.

On this blessed night, I pray that God will grant me the graces that I need to surrender to his will. I look to Joseph as a model of what a father should be, and I pray for his intercession. St. Joseph, pray for us.

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