As I was reflecting on what it would have been like to be present at the birth of Jesus, the character of Joseph came to mind. Despite what Silent Night would have us believe, the birth of Jesus must have been a crazy moment. Joseph was probably in the thick of the chaos just trying to keep everything from falling apart. When you think about his situation, it’s pretty insane. Here’s a guy who is getting ready to be married and start a life together with Mary, when his life gets totally turned upside down by Mary’s surprise cosmic pregnancy. He was surely confused and disoriented at the news, probably asking a lot of questions beginning with “why” and “how.”
We can’t know exactly what went through Joseph’s head, but we do know that his response eventually was to simply say yes. He said yes to Mary in supporting her through what I’m sure was a scary situation for her, and by doing so, he was partnering with the work of God. He looked at what was dropped into his lap, and despite his lack of understanding, chose to believe that God was in it and moving through it. He chose to rest his worries on the truth of the sovereignty of God. And in that moment in the stable, Joseph got to see the culmination of his trust in God firsthand; in the eyes of the one who would go on to reconcile Joseph and all humanity back to God.
In that moment in the stable, I think that Joseph would have taken great comfort in the words of Psalm 131:
1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
It’s not our job to understand the great matters or “things too wonderful” that God is doing. It is our calling to simply say yes, putting our hope in the Lord, both now and forevermore.