Spotlight On Joseph

Friday, December 16, 2016
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Listen while you read: "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day"1 (Lyrics)

Matthew 1:19 – Joseph was her promised husband. He was a good man and did not want to make it hard for Mary in front of people. He thought it would be good to break the promised marriage without people knowing it. (NLV)

Do you secretly wrestle with a gnawing sense of insignificance, feeling like you don't matter much? The sense of meaninglessness is a common form of suffering today. That's why, for a moment, I'd like to shine the spotlight on Joseph in the nativity event — specifically in his behind-the-scenes role as a protector for Mary and Baby Jesus.

The spotlight first shines on Joseph when, on discovering Mary's pregnancy, he is deciding to take legal steps to release her from her pledge in marriage. It is surely a heart-wrenching moment for him. He will lose Mary, yet wishes protect her honour and shield her from public disgrace. He puts her interests ahead of his own. He serves Mary as an instrument of God's grace. What an example of a godly protector!

Later on, we see Joseph protecting mother and Child from the wicked King Herod. It involves long journeys to and from Egypt. We cannot know what difficulties Joseph himself may have endured. But we can see that in his role as protector, Joseph is guided by God through dreams. God is using Joseph to protect his wife and her Child in their time of vulnerability. In that way, Joseph is also protecting something far grander: God's eternal plan of redemption. That is really quite breathtaking.

Joseph is one of those quiet men in Scripture. Nothing he said is quoted. Yet, he reminds us that silent people can be inspiring examples of faith, and God can use them for a purpose far beyond their own circumstances.

I see Joseph as a hero – not like the fairytale hero who, with dazzling valour, protects vulnerable princesses. Joseph is a hero by protecting mother and Child through his quiet integrity. He may not be in the spotlight, but in God's eyes, he is surely a hero of faith.

There's a lesson here regarding our own sense of calling: It's not about having a big role in a small drama, but about having a small role in a mighty big drama: God's eternal redemptive plan for humanity. The spotlight may never shine on us. We can be okay with that, if we realize that we live and move and have our being in God and His grand purposes. That's where we'd want the spotlight to shine!

Prayer: Dear Father, during those times when we feel insignificant and have little to say, may we remember Joseph. May we be content to know that, in some small way, through our submission to You, You can use us to be an instrument of Your grace. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great insight and challenge Diane. Have a Merry Christmas.

    Happy Christmas. Enjoyed this. Very thoughtful.

    Amen and Amen. May all we say and do be a witness to our Lord Jesus Christ! Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    Thank you Diane this is very thoughtfully spoken and thought through, a big help to me. May God continue to speak to His people through you.

    Good morning Diane, thanks for your meditation on Joseph. Very timely and well done.
    Have a blessed Christmas.

    WELL, that is a perfectly wonderful devotional you wrote for today, Diane … insights that most of us miss. Thank you.

    Diane – great insight into Joseph’s personality. I never thought about him in this light. May God continue to bless you and your writing. Merry Christmas.

    Thank you so much for this devotional. I really needed to hear those
    words. The daily devotionals are so helpful and thought provoking. Thank
    you for your contributions.

    Thank you Diane for “Spotlight on Joseph.”
    It is a precious and practical devotional with a very God-honoring message.
    Keep writing.

    A wonderful devotional Diane! It is amazing how God can use even the quietest and most unassuming of us to fulfill his will, if we are only obedient to his word. Thank you for the reminder.
    Christmas blessings to you and yours.

    That message will encourage many. In these troubled times many of us feel helpless but actually the Lord requires us to work and spread his light wherever He has put us. If everyone does that the world will totally change.
    You are certainly doing that by writing such a devotional.

    Hi Diane,
    Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed your “Spotlight on Joseph”, it is so true, we most times forget about him.
    Bless you and your family, have a wonderful Christmas.

    Thank you Diane for an inspirational devotional. I always look forward to your meditatons they are significant.
    I’ve never understood why Joseph thought he was protecting Mary by breaking the engagement – feels more like he was protecting himself. However, that is likely ‘male’ thinking (written by a male writer) and similar to the woman found in adultery. She is the focus and somehow the man gets off scot free. How does that happen? Is that related to ‘blaming women’ for sexual ‘misbehaviour’?

    Hi Diane, I thoroughly enjoyed your devotion, shining the spotlight on Joseph. In our church library, I have the children’s book entitled Fear Not, Joseph! by Julie Stiegemeyer, which in the author’s words, allows one to “gain a deeper appreciation for the quiet and yet necessary role Joseph played as guardian of our Lord Jesus. Jesus was not Joseph’s natural son, but God made Joseph His adopted father, the provider and caretaker of Mary and our Saviour, Jesus. God often chooses the humble and unassuming to be His hands and to share His mercy with others.” Truly, a hero of faith! I think it is a beautiful telling of the Christmas story.
    Keep writing, Diane, as your devotions are always informative and interesting.
    Merry Christmas, good health, and much happiness in 2017!

    Thank you Diane for this devotional. I appreciated so much your take on the spotlight on Joseph. He sure did get left in the background a lot, I loved that you brought this to our attention. Kind of reminds me of the early days way back in the fifties when we had our babies, the fathers were whisked away, and not allowed to come near the babies they had sired. More or less kept in the background, like they were not important all. But we have come to realize that it is important to fathers involve in the parenting process from the very beginning. Its difficult when a father could not pick up and bond with a baby until after leaving the hospital. I am glad this has changed. I am so thankful that Joseph was such a good father and content to remain in the background. Merry Christmas.

    This is very good and well thought out.
    Keep writing.

    Dear Diane,
    A great devotional of serving God’s purpose!
    Thank you.
    Keep teaching us.

    Re Joseph. God has given you a great insight here. Thank you for being the bearer of the message.

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