Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a well-loved, well-respected figure in Christian history. When I stare at a nativity scene, she and baby Jesus are often the first figures that capture my attention. But lately as I stare, I’ve caught my eyes drifting to the side a little bit, as I feel that same sense of gratefulness for Joseph.
Joseph was a good man. He lived his life to please God. He was actually a part of a sect of the Pharisees whose name meant “kindness.” Their goal was to live kind to all, and they believed that the only way to do that was to be faithful to God’s law.
So, when Joseph found out his fiancé Mary was pregnant and not by him, it was tough, as it went strongly against his moral beliefs. But the way he handled that hardship is one that I believe could be a great testimony to us all this Christmas season.
See, in that moment of contention Joseph could’ve divorced Mary. And He almost did. But instead he chose to listen to God’s direction, even when it was hard, and worked to create peace. Turns out, if he would’ve divorced Mary, he would’ve divorced himself from a pretty incredible purpose.
It’s the same for us. Amidst the pressures of imperfections, it’s easy to want to respond in ways we’ll regret. But it’s only when we connect to God and others peacefully that we birth our best lives.
As Romans 14:19 says, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”
So, this holiday season, I encourage you to work hard to live as a peacemaker, no matter what the family gathering, work party or friend get-together brings. It may seem small, but it’s that skill that saved Joseph’s memories, marriage, and calling. Creating peaceful relationships is a big way for us to live our best life, and to show that we really want to be like God.
I know… it can sound much easier than it actually is! Let’s look at how Joseph did it.
First, he didn’t disgrace. Joseph was going to privately divorce Mary, even when he thought she had sinned, because he realized: we are all imperfect. There is no need for disgrace.
We are called to build people up—not blame or belittle them.
Secondly, he showed grace. After the angel appeared to him and gave credibility to Mary’s story, Joseph reached out to her. We too must remember that we have all been in need of grace. Freely we have received, so freely we should give.
Finally, Joseph created peace by following through and marrying Mary, because he realized an important truth, and it’s this: we all fight battles; it’s better to face them together.
This holiday season, let’s not be among those who see through people; let’s choose to see them through. Remember what the Scripture says… peacemakers are always blessed!