As I work on getting into the Christmas spirit, I like to think about the arduous journey to Bethlehem. I don't pretend to be a biblical scholar. My relationship with God is my own. It's real. It's a part of me, everyday. I don't find it necessary to shout it from the roof tops. I rarely share much about it. But at a time when all the songs on the radio are either "All I WANT for Christmas" or "Baby Jesus"- centric, I like to think about St. Joseph's thoughts and actions during those weeks prior to the birth of Christ, (and after) and how his example is a model for EVERYONE, Christian and non-Christian alike.
He had to be scared. Did he worry that Mary would suffer, or even deliver the child, before they had safely arrived in Bethlehem? She was riding a donkey over 150 miles, and probably visibly ready to pop. He wasn't a rich man. Was he concerned about the financial responsibilities he was about to take on? He was Mary's spouse, only because he put complete faith in what a heavenly angel told him. Do you think he ever questioned his decision? He was tired. Wouldn't you be?
What does this have to do with us? You and me. Today. All Faiths. Or, lack thereof. Let's consider for a moment, what the world would be like if every person on this planet took these following examples to heart.
· Protect those who need protection.
· Defend those whom the world has marginalized
· Work hard to provide for your family
· Feed the hungry
· Clothe those who are naked
· Lead honorably
· Love unconditionally
· Teach those who lack adequate education
· Provide apprenticeship and employment for the young
· Be honest and pure of heart no matter what your circumstances within society
· Discipline fairly, in the knowledge that discipline teaches self control and encourages responsibility for self and others as children become adults.
· Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, (that small, still voice inside) and act upon them
Where would the world be if we all emulated the life of St. Joseph? We need to do these things, personally. Relying on government to take care of our families and neighbors doesn't work. Our society will only be well and whole again, when we get our hands dirty, and invest ourselves emotionally and physically into our own communities.
Give the world a gift this Christmas. Go out and be St. Joseph to someone in need.
Merry Christmas. And peace be with you all.