“O Virgin, when Joseph went up to Bethlehem… thou didst cry to him: ‘Why art thou downcast and troubled, seeing me great with child? Why art thou wholly ignorant of the fearful mystery that comes to pass in me? Henceforth, cast every fear aside and understand this strange marvel: for in my womb God now descends upon earth for mercy’s sake, and He has taken flesh.’”
– Hymn From The Royal Hours of The Nativity
Joseph is disturbed, tempted to put Mary away due to his obvious embarrassment. Yet, Joseph does not give in to that temptation. He accepts God’s will and understands the truth about the Birth of Christ. This is not his son, but God’s Son. Joseph is thus the ever-faithful one, who trusts God completely, despite the fact that he might not completely understand all that has happened. He accepts these events, overcomes temptation and becomes a model of faith and trust in God. The troubled Joseph speaks directly to us. He even represents us and our own response to Christ’s Birth. Through him, we are directly challenged. Do we ignore this great encounter with God? Are we oblivious to it? Do we succumb to the temptation of regarding Christ’s Birth as a religious myth? Or do we rise above our own doubting nature and accept the Savior? Joseph compels us to take a stand, to join him, the angels, Magi, shepherds and all creation in acknowledging the Child as our God.
For many in a modern society of technology and scientific advancements, this Divine Birth is a “story”, a “fairytale” to be told to young children. These persons as “modern”, “sophisticated” individuals are influenced by a faithless, secular and a materialistic society whose “trust” is in an idolatrous technology. To these individuals, St. Maximus the Confessor writes, “Let us contemplate with faith the mystery of the Divine Incarnation and in all simplicity let us simply praise Him Who in His great generosity became Man for us. For who can explain how the flesh generated without seed…How did God become Man…Faith alone can embrace these mysteries for it is faith that makes real… things beyond the intellect.”
We must respond by accepting, in faith, Christ’s Birth as Divine and understanding that God is among us. Or we can live in the darkness of society, oblivious to His presence.