Joseph was called, under challenging circumstances, to fill the role of Jesus’ father on earth. Described in Matthew’s Gospel as a righteous man, he was planning to dismiss Mary, who was with child before they lived together, but instead obeyed the message given to him by an angel of the Lord to take Mary as his wife. Joseph is honored in Christian tradition for the love he showed to the boy Jesus, who lived under his roof for at least twelve years. His tender affection and care for Mary has, likewise, been long celebrated in the church.
Joseph was a devout Jew, descended from the line of David. A carpenter by trade, he was a man of very modest means, with no education outside the synagogue. It is generally believed that he died quietly and naturally, prior to our Lord’s active ministry. The gospel writers tell us that Jesus was widely known as the “son of Joseph the carpenter,” and Joseph’s influence on him was, of course, inestimable. Though Joseph might not have grasped the importance of his humble life, it stands as a grace-filled model of serving God through simple everyday activities, as a devoted husband and father.
Collect of the day:
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.