In the books of Matthew and Luke, we find the story of Jesus’ birth. We are introduced to His mother Mary, a young Galilean virgin who would soon carry the son of God. And we also meet Joseph, a man who I believe deserves a lot more respect than is given. Now I don’t think for a second that Joseph himself would agree. I picture him being a good, humble man who lived and worked hard for his family. Nonetheless, I find him to be someone deserving of more than just an honorable mention.

Joseph is mentioned very little after the journeys he and Mary take to evade Herod’s attempts to kill the baby Messiah. But he must have been an extraordinary man. After all, he was entrusted by God to be the earthly father figure to the One who would bridge man and God forever. That is no small task.

Let’s take a closer look at Joseph and why I believe he is worthy of our respect and potentially a man to model some of our own attributes after.

This was a man who went to great lengths to keep Mary’s reputation intact. Mary, a woman Joseph hardly knew, a woman who become impregnated previous to their wedding. How many men today would have the ability to remain a gentleman in the face of a similar situation?

I cannot imagine the heartbreak Joseph must have felt. Even though Mary declared she was still a virgin and carrying the seed of God, it had to be a very difficult story to believe. However, even before Joseph was visited by the Angel of the Lord, he had made a decision not to draw unnecessary attention to Mary. He knew the negative consequences an accusation of such magnitude would bring upon Mary and her family.

After having been visited by the Angel of the Lord, Joseph had a new outlook on the situation. Although this too had to bring upon an entirely new set of stressors. He was now to be the caretaker for the Messiah. He had the task of keeping him safe and raising him, teaching the soon-to-be teacher of us all. Imagine that if you will.

Joseph had to have a fine ear to God’s voice. He was raised in the middle of the night to gather his wife, a newborn, and any belongings they may have acquired and flee from a murderous madman. This was no easy walk-in-the-park journey either, rather it was a very long journey – on foot. Not to mention, Joseph had to be careful, sometimes stealthy. He had to have eyes in the back of his head and could trust no one at that point. I don’t believe Joseph was alive to see his son, a son he shared with God, become the sacrificial lamb. It would have been extremely hard on him to watch what Jesus had to endure. However, I believe Joseph would have been very proud of how Jesus handled it all.

A little piece of Joseph was there in Jesus’ character, up to the very last breath of earthly air Jesus took before passing over to Glory, a time He was among both His earthly and heavenly fathers.

I could probably go on and on about positive attributes of Joseph, but I think it best to encourage you to go back and read the story of Jesus’ birth and the events surrounding it. Once you have, see if you do not find a new found respect for a man given the tremendous task of parenting a child that would save all of humanity for every future generation to come.

James Fansler is Lake Placid police chief. He can be reached at lakeplacidchief@gmail.com .

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