The Almost Empty Nester: What About Joseph?

Saturday, December 19, 2015

What About Joseph?

I love Christmas. I always have. And even more so after I became a mom. I could relate to Mary, read her story and understand how frightening it must have been to be pregnant so young. Have people judge her. To be worried about the safety of her baby. And it never fails, I wince every time I read about that precious woman riding a donkey for days while nine months pregnant. That alone gives her rock star status in my book.

I’ve read the story of the birth of Jesus countless times over the years. And some of my favorite Christmas songs focus on Mary and how she must have been feeling during that time. I was listening to one just the other day and had a thought:

But, what about Joseph?

I fear men get discounted when it comes to the emotional parts of life and stories. Joseph certainly didn’t appreciate the judgment brought upon Mary or himself over her pregnancy, and yet he obeyed God and stayed with her. He had to have been frightened for his little family when God said to move them because of King Herod’s command to go after all male children. Joseph was the protector of his wife and son. I can imagine he was worried about how to keep them safe.

What was Joseph thinking as he led the donkey that carried his pregnant wife on their travels? Was he discouraged, exhausted, and frustrated when there was no place for them to sleep for the night or for Mary to deliver comfortably? And what went through his mind as he held baby Jesus for the first time? I imagine he deemed it all worth it. But who am I to say?

Girly leaves for college next year. And yes, I tear up over this now and then. But so does my husband. I think we almost empty nesters forget sometimes about the Joseph’s in our lives. We don’t mean to. They are our strength. Our leadership in the family. My husband is my rock. I’m all over the place, but this man is steady and solid. I’d be lost without him. And yet, not long ago, this solid man of mine got misty eyed over his baby girl leaving the nest. It hurts him too.

As sure as Joseph marveled at the wonder that was his son, Jesus, and watched him thrive and grow, my husband adores and is excited for our daughter to be adventurous, find her way in the world. But he holds in his daddy heart the same moments I hold in my mama heart. Evenings full of laughter, afternoons that need comfort with strong arms to hold as a reminder that things will all be fine, and how he is the only one in the world she calls “Daddy.” I tell ya, our daughter says “Daddy” to him with her big blue eyes and it’s game over. He would move heaven and earth for that child.

I imagine Joseph felt the same. We see in the Bible all that Mary went through, but what about Joseph? The Christmas story has changed a bit for me now. I see it through new eyes. Mary’s obedience to God was important, but so was Joseph’s. The Christmas story wouldn’t be the same without him.

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