Today is December the 26Th the first Sunday after the Nativity and also the day we commemorate Joseph the Betrothed.
Has we come to this Sunday after Christmas day we take the time to celebrate Saint Joseph the man entrusted with the protection and rearing of our Savior.
Not much is known about this man or the great effects he had on this child Jesus.
My mother used to say that a woman goes through the birth of a child and the man is congratulated on its arrival.
But like most fathers and step fathers little credit is given to their hard work and responsibility for the raising of a child.
We seem to forget how influential Joseph was and to say he was not a special man would be an understatement.
Joseph was thrown into a position of not only being engaged to a woman who he was to find out was pregnant,but also to have enough faith to believe that when an angel appeared to him in a dream,he was able to not only understand the importance of his dream but to follow through with what was being asked of him.
If not for St. Joseph this woman,Mary,at worst may have been stoned to death for being pregnant with out being married and at the least she and her child would have been outcast,entitlement to nothing by Jewish law and society.
They would have been the lowest of the low,probably beggar's in the streets.
In order for Jesus to have fulfilled the Jewish Laws he needed to be a Jewish man in good standing,which would not have happened had he been fatherless.
Joseph took on the role of father,husband and care taker to a child who would change the face of religion.
It is said that Joseph lived to be an old man,how old,that's disputable,since most men lived to be about 36 in those days,but no matter how old he was he lived long enough to raise Jesus to manhood before he died.
While at church this morning,the fact struck me that when Jesus was born his father,a man named Joseph,probably assisted with the cleaning and wrapping of this tiny baby's body which he held and laid in a wooden feed box.
After Jesus Crucifixion and death another older man,also named Joseph,went to the Governor Pilot to ask for and recover the body of Jesus.
At our Sunday liturgy,when the entry of the gifts are being brought the priest says:
Joseph an honorable man took your own pure body down from the wood,wrapped it in a clean linen and spices and laid him in a new tomb.
Both Josephs not only knew Jesus but they assisted him in his time of need.
One assisted with bringing him into the world with dignity and the other assisted with bringing him out of the world with the same dignity.
I once read that to wash and wrap the body of a dead person is the greatest act of compassion one person can do for another.
Its considered selfless because what you are giving can not be repaid by the person you are giving this gift to.
It seems both Josephs were compassionate men who understood the importance of living up to what would become their destinies, both gave their love,compassion and protection to Jesus.