Day 11
What about Joseph?

Each of us has our own ideas about how we would feel in the place of any of the characters we read about - whatever their status and whether they are actual historical figures or crafted from a writer's imagination. Shelley Spiers has managed to sum up in this poem for engageworship the mixed emotions Joseph might have acknowledged and his recognition that he cannot walk away from the role God had assigned him.

Betrothed;

a love declared,

a future promised

to Mary,

my beloved.

But then

a shock;

a scandal.

A baby, not mine,

for Mary

my beloved.

A dilemma:

what could I do

but walk away

quietly

and spare the shame

and disgrace

of Mary

my beloved.

But then,

in the night

appeared an angel

with a message.

“Do not fear!

Marry Mary

your beloved.”

A baby

sent from God.

A saviour,

Jesus.

God’s chosen servant

is Mary

my beloved.

If God

is in it,

I cannot walk away.

It won’t be easy,

but it’s exactly

where I want to be.

Joseph must also have felt a bit scared. What a responsibility! Being responsible for a child who is physically your own is responsibility enough but this child, he was told, was the Son of God..

The baby in this photo was just a few weeks old: his father was pensive, as Joseph must have been, wondering what might lie ahead for this new life.

Lord, we recognise before you what joy being a parent brings and we acknowledge that it also brings responsibilities. Sometimes the weight of the responsibility makes us forget the joy!

Grant us patience as we care for these young lives and wisdom as we help them grow into loving, responsible adults.

At this Christmas time help us to show them the importance of your gift of Jesus and let it not be buried among all the commercialism.

Amen

In 1869, the Reverend Thomas Bowman Stephenson saw some children living rough under the arches of Waterloo Station

Instead of walking by, he stopped to listen to their stories. Then he worked out the most practical way to help.

Stephenson was a Methodist minister from the North East of England. He was also passionate about social justice. So when he moved to London, he challenged the Methodist Church to take action to help children living on the streets.

Stephenson’s work led to the creation of the National Children’s Home (NCH). In 1994 we became NCH Action for Children. The name changed to Action for Children in 2008.

You can find out more - or support them this Christmas here