One of my favorite parts of the Christmas story deals with Joseph, who became Mary’s husband.

Joseph plays a very unique role. Apparently, he’s an older man who is supposed to wed Mary, a much younger wife.

When he discovers that Mary is pregnant before he marries her, he decides to cancel the wedding quietly. But God in a dream tells Joseph just what He’s doing, and Joseph continues with his plans to marry his spouse-to-be.

Joseph provides for Mary and her Child during the birth and afterwards as Jesus matures. Eventually, quietly, he passes from the scene, most likely dying due to old age.

What fascinates me about Joseph was that he played a vital role in Jesus’ life, and yet he never appeared in the spotlight, as it were. He was content to do what was needed in order to accomplish what God and Jesus wanted.

It seems that sometimes we’re expected to crave center stage, to be the focus of what’s happening. There are times in which we do things to gain attention, to let our egos be massaged and fed.

Joseph didn’t live that way. And that’s an important lesson for us.

I find it interesting that, when I do things out of love for what I’m doing, I get attention. But I don’t seek it. For instance, when my friends and I began doing discussion panels on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine at local sci-fi fan conventions, we found that people were coming to Maryland from places as far away as Florida and the UK to attend not just the convention, but our panels! Then, too, when the three of us were running to the DS9 panel, someone in the audience saw us coming, he turned and told everyone else, “The DS9 people are here!”

It’s nice to be appreciated. And that kind of recognition doesn’t make me feel I’m better than others. In fact, it means I have to work harder to do a good presentation.

So, when I hear the Christmas story, I always pay attention to Joseph, the father who was content to be a good father and not hog the limelight.

Apparently, I’m not the only one. Here’s a song by MercyMe that talks about Joseph:

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