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christmas Joseph

Joseph

Photo by JINU JOSEPH on Pexels.com

As I have said before, Joseph is one of my favourite unsung heroes of the Christmas story. He never says a word. He questions, wants to follow the law 100% – what with Mary being pregnant and all that. As a lawful man he should have had her stoned to death. Funny things laws at times, but that is probably for another post entirely around women’s rights, etc.

The other day I was reading through the Genealogies in Matthew 1:1-17, encouraged by the Red Letter Christians advent calendar. Now this is Joseph’s genealogy because the prophets said that the Messiah would come through the line of David and that was Joseph’s line, hence why Joseph took the pregnant Mary with him to register for the census in Bethlehem, the town of David. So again I am struck by how important it is to God that Joseph is included in the story of Jesus. In the first two chapters of Matthew Joseph is actually the lead protagonist of the tale. It is his actions that keep the story moving and keep Jesus from being killed – first by potential stoning of Mary and then by Herod’s massacre of the baby boys.

The prompt was “which name stands out?” Now I was surprised that it was Jehoiachin [read more about him and his demise in 2 Kings 24:14-15 and 2 Chronicles 36:10]. He is the last king of Judah who gets taken away to captivity in Babylon. Though he does also get treated well by the son of his capture. So Joseph is from a line of kings and there is that royal connection. It makes me wonder how he felt about that. Proud? Disillusioned? Ignored it?

In the UK we have a tradition of royal households being dispossessed by other royal household. And countries like France and Russia have lost their royal households due to revolutions. Once in the UK there was a DNA investigation that found someone who allegedly had more of a claim to the British throne through an older royal household than the present royal family, who were actually invited in by the British government because they didn’t want a Catholic on the throne back in the 18th century.

So here is Joseph of this royal household that was dispossessed by an oppressive regime but who still knows his lineage .

But also back in the First book of Samuel God uses Samuel to tell the people that having a king isn’t a good idea and that they won’t be happy with it. If they just followed God they would have freedom but a king would expect things of them; tithes, to be his army and fight for him, to work in his household, etc.

Now here’s the twist for me – God says that having a king isn’t a good idea then brings in the saviour of not just the Jews but of the whole world through a lineage that God said was not a good plan. Now that is an interesting plot twist. I find this whole thing fascinating and I think it gives great hope to all of us.

We too often do what we really shouldn’t do. It is not like it is a bad thing but it isn’t God’s best for our lives. Often we can feel, and be made to feel, that we’ve missed it and so we don’t see the restoration, the redemption, the way we could be part of something so much more than just us and our little clique.

I’d like to think that once Joseph got his head round that idea that him, a descendant of the royal house of Judah, was now going to be the link between that and Jesus’s kingship over the whole world that he had this huge smile on his face. I wonder if that was why he was able to leave his reputation, his job, his town, and not just go to Bethlehem but then go on to Egypt, to be part of making sure God’s plan came to fruition. And that he was willing not to need to be in the foreground. He could take an active part in Jesus’s early upbringing but be willing take a back seat in the Christmas story.

As I stay pondering this I hope that I am willing to take a back seat and not have to hog the limelight when God allows me to be part of sometimes in the lives of those around me. To not expect that I will get my recognition, my five minutes of fame, but that I will be ready and willing to do as I am being asked by the Creator of the Universe and just let it be.

That is my hope for me through this Advent season and into the unknowing of what 2023 beings.

Categories
change grief

Nation in Mourning?

Photo of tree in Pentre Mawr Park, Abergele photographed by Diane Woodrow
Berries on a tree in my local park photographed by myself

This photo shows Autumn is coming

I haven’t posted for a while, and it is interesting to realise that my last post was about People Pleasing. After I’d posted I then went on holiday to Cornwall for a week, then the week I came back I had signed up with the Professional Writing Academy to do a week of podcasts to do with the craft of writing, which made for a very full week around everything else I was doing. I still have to catch up with some of the podcasts I missed. And then the Queen died so the blog posts I had in my head haven’t yet been written.

It is hard to know what to write when according to all UK media the nation is in mourning. I am afraid I’m not. Well not in mourning for the Queen anyway. I do feel for her family and I think she did some awesome things. I am probably nervous that it is another change. The end of an era. I very much think it should be marked. But I am not sure if this is the right way when so many are fearful and wondering how they will keep their homes warm this winter.

I, personally, am sad that the Queen felt that she had to work right up until two days before she died. I am not sure if this is a good example to others. I think we are often pushed too hard into working a lot, into even when retired still doing many things. That this is where are identity comes from in what we do. There is even a group called. Rest Less which is about making sure you keep doing more as you age. I often wonder if it would be more beneficial for the country, for the world, if we learned to actually do less rather than do more, if we could accept ourselves as we are and not have to rushing about doing things.

Note I am not against doing things but I think too often many people are busy doing rather than being so that they don’t have to catch up with themselves.

The Queen has now been replaced by King Charles who is 73 years old. He should be settling into a nice retirement where his grandchildren come first, fun holidays come second and pleasing himself comes next. But he will be expected to work until he too dies. Is this really a good example?

There is much I could say about privilege, entitlement, the cost of the country, this economic time, but I won’t. As I have said on and off during my posts, I have had to deal with grief of various kinds and I am also grateful that I never had to do mine in public. There was not going to be a headline if I laughed when I was expected to be sad, or did things that others thought were not right during their own period of grief. So for that I will not say anything. And I also think the media should get on and do something else rather than following this grieving family.

I do think this country needs to mark the end of an era, needs to pray about what comes next, but also needs to let this family deal with losing their matriarch. But also remember she was 96. She was an old lady.

The loss of the Queen is a thing but it is not like losing a child or a friend who died do young. Or even of grieving the loss of a relationship, a dream, a home, a job, etc.

Perhaps we need to put the loss of a 96 year old head of state into its right place?