A few days ago Pete Banks (aka the banksyboy brief) posted a link to a fabulous track by The Killers – Joseph, Better You Than Me. Rather than embed the link here, I encourage you to go to Pete’s blog and have a listen via the link.

As I said, I think it is a fabulous track, and it reminded me of a meditation I did during the Spiritual Exercises on my recent sabbatical. Joseph is a somewhat neglected figure in the Nativity story. We focus a lot on Mary, the mother of Jesus, and on her obedience, and while Joseph gets his honourable mentions in Matthew’s Gospel his role in the story is often overlooked when we tell it at Christmas. Joseph takes responsibility for many of the major decisions – he carries through with the planned marriage in the face of local gossip and scandal; he takes care of Mary and the baby in difficult circumstances in Bethlehem, perhaps facing the questions of his extended family since they come from there; he takes the decision to seek refuge in a foreign country (Egypt) when their lives are threatened by Herod, and then to return to Nazareth when the situation allows. All this for a child that isn’t his!

Let’s spare a special thought for Joseph this Christmas.