Remember that part of the Christmas story where Herod wants to kill Jesus? Imagine this story – from the perspective of Joseph. As a parent, especially as a dad, I feel the responsibility to protect my kids. I felt that even more when they were babies. Joseph found out (see Matthew 2:13) that the king of his country was seeking to kill the baby Jesus. This is a serious threat! He must have been afraid, and he fled to Egypt. Imagine moving to a foreign country, being immigrants for two years, trying to find work, and not wanting to be discovered for fear of being hunted. Joseph had incredible courage.
Earlier, Joseph had shown incredible courage to stay married to Mary even though her baby was not Joseph’s. He would bear this public scandal for the rest of his life, which took courage. He raised a child that he did not always understand, as shown by the episode in the Temple (see Luke 2:41-52). Parents of teenagers can relate to this story, on many levels, and can tell you that raising a teen takes courage!
Joseph had courage, and his courage came from his faith. We don’t often connect courage with faith, but they are connected. Trusting in God means you look beyond the dangers, scorn, and struggles that are part of this life. If we know that Jesus has defeated death, we can live without fear of what humans can do to us. Trusting that God will provide for us, we can live beyond fear of going without. Faith also moves us into action to provide for and protect others.
Take courage; take heart – God is with you.