Joseph: Christmas’s Exemplar of Faith–James 2:20

 “But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless” James 2:20? 

English: The Nativity of Christ

I love Christmas carols. In them we celebrate Jesus and Mary and angels and shepherds.  We exalt stars and lambs and little drummer boys. Magi, Eastern astrologers, even make the list.However, I’m hard pressed to think of one carol that mentions Joseph except for the “Cherry Tree”. This song ridicules him for not giving the virgin a cherry.

However, when I think of Joseph, even though he’s not mentioned in Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame”, I think of a man who exemplifies James 2:14-26. He was a man of faith who demonstrated that faith through his works.

As a teenager, Joseph was betrothed to Mary who found herself pregnant. She gave him a hair-brained story that she was still a virgin and would birth the Son of God.

Being an honorable man, Joseph thought to divorce her quietly. In those days, engagements could only be terminated by divorce.

Philippe de Champaigne's The Dream of Saint Jo...
Philippe de Champaigne’s
The Dream of Saint Joseph
painted around 1636
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As he slept, he dreamt. In this dream, an angel appeared to him and said, “‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit'” Matthew 1:20.

He believed. Because he had true faith, he acted on it. The Gospel of Matthew goes on to say, Joseph took Mary home to be his wife.

And to make the tale wilder, he did not consummate his marriage until Jesus had been born–no small feat for a teenaged boy.

This Christmas season, remember your faith and let Joseph be one of its models.

Merry Christmas, and be strong in your faith.

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