Details of Joseph’s life are sparse. Luke 2 tells us that he was Mary’s husband and foster-father of Jesus. Following brief stays in Bethlehem and Egypt the little family settled in Nazareth where Joseph made a living as a carpenter. Not much else is known about him in spite of his noble descent. Matthew 1 traces his generations to Abraham; Luke 3 to Adam.
But what a remarkable man he was. He provided a safe home for the boy Jesus: love, protection, care, guidance, and teaching. This alone would set him apart from many other fathers in Israel.
One cannot escape the impression that Joseph was a quiet, caring and thoughtful man. No better foster-father could have been appointed for the boy Jesus. Tradition has it that Joseph did not become old. That would explain that the gospels provide no further details of Joseph’s’ life.
The Bible pictures many men and women whose lives we may want to emulate. For me, Joseph is one of them in spite of the absence of drama and action in his life. We all, actually, appreciate people who are thoughtful and don’t talk overly much. They are the people who can listen, who understand, who can bear with our weaknesses, and will love us even when underserving. They are the Josephs in our lives. We all know such people. They may not always be achievers, they will not demand much of us, they don’t outdo us, they will listen to what we need to tell them, they will bear with our weaknesses, and they enter into our situations.
In these competitive days the world needs more Josephs. I need to become a bit more like Joseph.