Christmas, for Joseph, meant obedience and restraint (1:24-25)
Roman Catholics and Protestants have been fighting for far too long about what Joseph and Mary “did” after the birth of Jesus. Does “had no union with her until…” mean that he did not have “union” with her even after or does it mean he did have “union”? The issue is not nearly as important as what Joseph “didn’t do” before the birth of Jesus.
Out of reverence (that lost and dying attribute) for the holiness of what God was doing in this little holy family, Joseph’s obedience to the angel’s persuasive chat with Joseph led him to restrain his passions for Mary.
From front to end of this story Joseph is a man driven by obedience:
he knew the Torah so he chose not to marry Mary
he knew he could be merciful yet obedient to the Torah
he fought with an angel about what that Torah meant
he surrendered to the angel when he realized it would be obedient
he went home and did just what the angel said to do
Out of obedience, Joseph named his baby “Yeshua” instead of “Yoseph” (which would have been normal).
It is an obedient father who is chosen by God to “be father” to a baby destined to be a “Yeshua” and who would obey for others so that, having become like them, he might make them like himself.
Joseph, you are a man of God, an obedient one, and I bless you today. (And we’ll turn to your wonderful wife next.)