Joseph, Mary and Jesus were a step-family who experienced their own struggles, just like step-families of today. Their story offers us hope and optimism when step-families may feel isolated and misunderstood.
Because Joseph, her husband, was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream 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: 19-20 (NIV)
The last couple of years, I’ve allowed myself time on Christmas Eve to sit quietly and reflect on the story of Mary. It is difficult to imagine the social scorn she and Joseph must have endured during the pregnancy of Jesus. When I really start to think about the depth of their faith…their conviction and belief in God…it truly takes my breath away.
I am sure they were rejected and ridiculed by people they believed to be their allies and confidants. They must have felt as deserted as Tom Hanks in Castaway – even though they were together.
While Mary was likely mocked and taunted by her peers, Joseph must have had several of his friends trying to talk some sense into him.
“Joseph – you need to get away from her…she’s going to drag you down. It’s not even your kid. Run, man – fast! You have no obligation to her – she’s broken the relationship. You’re crazy if you marry her.”
What deep love and loyalty Joseph must have had for Mary. Otherwise, how could he have had confidence in Mary’s story of an angel coming to tell her that she’ll be impregnated with God’s only Son?
Joseph did not listen to the naysayers. He stayed true to his heart, his faith and his love for Mary and the unborn child she was carrying. God confirmed Joseph’s heart and sent an angel to him to reassure him of the Immaculate Conception. And Joseph became a step-father to Jesus.
As my journey of being a step-parent continues, I find peace in knowing that the Holy Family experienced their own pains of fitting into a society that didn’t understand or embrace the differences in their family. Because we are all individuals with our own experiences and stories, the path of being a step-family is just as unique.
Because of the story of love shared between Mary and Joseph, I am reassured that in spite of the struggles of being in a step-family, there is hope, faith and love that will grow within me and outside of me along this path.
My hope for you this season is that you will find hope, faith and love on your journey. May you find connection in the coming year. Merry Christmas!
Believe. Create. Live.
© Rebecca G. Townsend, LLC 2016
This post was originally published as one post in December 2014.