Patient and Kind Joseph

Jeff Munroe

READ : Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph, being a just man [was] unwilling to put her to shame. (v. 19)

The second purple candle on the Advent wreath is lit today, and this candle honors Joseph and Mary. Two candles now glow in the December gloom. As the time of the Messiah’s birth approaches, the light gets brighter.

Not much is written about Joseph in the New Testament, but the few verses that we have testify to his character. He was kind, considerate, and careful. I love the idea that he was “unwilling to put her to shame.” He believed Mary had been unfaithful (what other possible explanation was there for her pregnancy?), but his calm and careful actions testify to the love he had for her.

The apostle Paul begins his well-known list of the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 13 by saying “Love is patient, love is kind.” Isn’t that a description of Joseph? He put Mary’s needs in front of his own, and, as much as we’d like to think that made everything easier for Joseph, the reality is that it made things even more complicated. Soon he was being visited by an angel in his dreams and being asked to believe that the Holy Spirit was the child’s father. Imagine explaining that to your family and friends. And yet, because he was patient and kind, Joseph witnessed the birth of the one who would save his people from their sins—including Joseph himself.


Lord, may we be patient and kind, and by so doing, may we see Jesus.