Matthew 1: 20
"As he was thinking about this [calling off the engagement quietly], an angel from the Lord appeared to him, in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.'"
Anthony B. Robinson
In church tomorrow, and again on Christmas Eve, Mary and her son will be in the spotlight, which is as it should be. And they will be attended, as usual, by kings, angels and shepherds.
Just beyond the bright light, however, stands another figure, one often overlooked: Joseph. He is important not for his biological contribution but for the trust, love and name he gave--gave when it wasn’t that easy to do so.
In some ways, Joseph seems like the original step parent. The kid wasn't his own, not biologically, and yet when an angel -- a messenger of God -- asked, he stepped up. It was, no doubt, awkward for Joseph, but he was undeterred.
I've never been a step parent, but I'm pretty sure it's a tough assignment. It looks like a constant balancing act. You're not the guy or gal, but you are. You're not the actual Dad or Mom, but you're the one who's doing the job. Negative stereotypes, as in "wicked stepmother," add to the load.
In the next couple days, as we gather in wonder and praise around the original Holy Family, let's also remember the ones who stand just outside the spotlight and the starlight, the step moms and dads, who though they may not be the biological parent, are doing their best to be good parents. You matter -- bless you.
Grant strength, courage and love to all parents, O God, and especially to those, like Joseph, who are parents of a different and most special sort. Amen.
Join Tony Robinson on Christmas Eve at 6 p.m. EST, on Darkwood Brew, in their special Advent series based on Hark!