Glencairn Methodist Church
Mr and Mrs Joseph Davidson
I can't help feeling that the writers of Christmas Carols give Joseph Davidson a raw deal. I mean to say, Mary, the mother of Jesus the Messiah, is his wife and surely he deserves some recognition at least for that; Mary and Jesus get lots by themselves. A visual scan of the Christmas Hymns and Carols in the Irish Church Hymnal and Hymns and Psalms indicates that there is only one carol where Joseph is mentioned by himself. ( As Joseph went a-walking), and three others where he is coupled with his wife as "Mary and Joseph" or "Joseph and Mary". (A virgin most pure, Silent night, On the eve of Christmas)
A prophecy by Isaiah (11:1,2) indicates that it is God's plan that the Messiah will be of "David's line", and both Matthew and Luke make it clear that Joseph was essential to ensure the fulfilment of that prophecy. Jesus was considered to be David's Son because Joseph "gave him the name Jesus" and by so doing, according to the Law, he accepted Jesus as his adopted Son, with all the rights and privileges of a natural son. Mary and Joseph or Joseph and Mary were a team, both selected by God to nurture His son through childhood and until Jesus set off on his ministry. (Joseph some how disappears from the Gospels sometime between the end of Luke chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3. Perhaps he died relatively young. I don't subscribe to the notion that Joseph was an old man when he married Mary.)
Joseph was one of the good guys. We see that in his initial reaction to the news of Mary's pregnancy. We see it further in his willingness to marry Mary and to adopt her son after God's messenger spoke to him. Then he arranged the transport for the journey to Bethlehem and the accommodation when they got there. He accepted further advice from God when he took his family to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod the Great, to come back to Palestine after that king was dead and to settle in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem because the new Herod was just as cruel as the old one.
Perhaps to be fair to the hymn writers, although not mentioned explicitly every time, it is implied that "Team Davidson" were together throughout the birth narratives!
Surely all young fathers can learn something from the behaviour of Joseph about how to love their wives and children.
2nd January 2014
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm