This time of year is always special. Families all have their different traditions: decorating the Christmas tree, hanging stockings, traveling to visit family and friends. You may enjoy driving around the neighborhood, looking at the twinkling lights decorating people’s homes. As you drive around the town, you inevitably come across various nativity scenes, displaying the birth of Jesus. Many churches throughout the community will often tell the story of Jesus’ birth through dramas and children’s plays, reenacting those fateful events.
The cast of characters associated with the story of Jesus’ birth is colorful and memorable. We recognize them by their unique speaking parts. With dramatic words, the Angels take center stage to announce the birth of the Savior. They appear to Joseph to announce that the name of the child would be Jesus. The angel Gabriel makes the unforgettable announcement to Mary. An angelic choir interrupts the shepherds, singing, praises to God and goodwill toward men. Mary offers a beautiful hymn. The wise men ask to see the newborn King. The shepherds become early evangelists—spreading the news of Jesus birth.
Oddly enough, only Joseph has no speaking part. He is the lone silent member of the cast and often forgotten. Angels bring heavenly greetings. Mary sings a praiseful solo. Wise men worship. Shepherds preach. Joseph is silent. No notable lines are attributed to him. No sound bites. No quotes. Only silence. However, Joseph is irreplaceable in the story of Jesus’ birth.
In fact, A Sunday School was putting on a Christmas pageant which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted so very much to be Joseph, but when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given that part, and he was assigned to be the inn-keeper instead. He was pretty upset about this but he didn’t say anything to the director.
During all the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of performance to get even with this rival who got to be Joseph. Finally, the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the inn-keeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted.
Joseph answered, “We’d like to have a room for the night.” Suddenly the inn-keeper threw the door open wide and said, “Great, come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!”
Joseph may not have a speaking role in the Nativity story, but as is often the case, his actions speak louder than words. The message of Joseph’s story is this: People may let you down. There will be times when you feel hurt, angry, or betrayed and you may not know what to do. But if we will listen, God will speak to us. Whether it’s through his word or some other means, God will let his voice be heard. From there, it’s up to us to listen and obey.
As you prepare for Christmas this month and you celebrate the birth of Jesus with your loved ones, keep an ear open for God’s voice. Listen to what he says through his Word and the world around you. If you will listen and obey, then God will use you in his cast of characters! If there’s any way I can help you with that please let me know as we stand and sing.
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