Bob Reinhardt, my partner in pastoring at Immanuel, Marshfield, Wi. would say that it is our job to make Christmas happen for the people. He was speaking of the whole church staff.
Of course, pastors don’t make Christmas actually happen, God took care of that. But when I read of Joseph’s role when God made Christmas happen, his part was like that of a member of a church staff.
Joseph could have copied King Ahaz as we meet him in Isaiah 7. God said he could ask for any sign he wanted. Ahaz declined giving as the reason that he didn’t want to put God to the test. Well, God had said that Israel shouldn’t put him to the test, so Ahaz could claim he was obeying God’s word; though he paid little attention to God’s word otherwise. Joseph was also following God’s word in Deuteronomy 22, when he discovered that Mary, his betrothed, was pregnant.
However, Joseph listened to the word of the angel of the Lord. He did his part in making Christmas happen. He went ahead with the completion of his marriage to Mary. He acted as the human father of Mary’s son. He protected him when threatened by Herod anger. He took the child to Egypt and then at the word of the Lord returned. He helped Mary raise Jesus.
So, when a church staff person approaches Christmas, we put forth our best effort to help the people celebrate the birth of their salvation.
God’s strength to all who play Joseph’s role as we celebrate God’s making of Christmas.